385 IGT Toscana Rosso is a wine of quality, with fresh and fragrant expressions of rich, ripe fruit, characteristic of wines that appeal to today's young wine lovers. Though the wine's roots run deep in the region's history and the blend is based on Tuscany's most representative grape, Sangiovese, 385 is given a more "modern" cut with the addition of Merlot, Ciliegiolo and Syrah. This melding of two important wine regions combined with the experience and expertise of internationally renowned oenologist Maurizio Castelli and technical managers Alex Bianchini (Ciacci Piccolomini) and Paolo Rivella (Tenuta Fertuna), results in a wine that can bear witness to its origins, expressing great structure and character, without being dependent on the stereotypes of excessive alcohol and concentration often attributed to Tuscan wines.
Along with the white Fiano, Aglianico is the most representative red wine from the Campania region in southern Italy. The Irpinia is produced from fruit grown on the esteemed Contrada Campore vineyard, at 500 meters (1640 feet) a.s.l. This is a rich and intense wine, with a complex array of aromas including red and black fruits, earth, spice and herbs. Though full in body with a long, velvety finish, this is a very approachable Aglianico, and undoubtedly a great value.
In Italian, the name Amarone literally means "Great Bitter," and was actually coined in 1936 within the very cellars of the Villa Mosconi in reference to a wine the Bertani family had been producing under the name "Recioto Secco," (Dry Recioto) to distinguish from the much sweeter Veronese Recioto also produced using the "apassimento" technique. This Amarone is the most intense of the Tenuta Santa Maria wines, with its characteristic aromas and complexity. The wine is ruby red in color with garnet reflections, and the impact of cherry preserves, spices, and dried rose petals lend complexity and elegance to the nose. Warm and subtle on the palate, it presents an important structure and high alcohol content, balanced by velvety tannins and bright acidity and freshness.
The darkly alluring 2016 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva smolders up from the glass with a smoky mix of peppery florals, dried black cherries and dried citrus peels. This is silky in texture, with cooling acidity and mineral tones that perfectly set the stage for a spicy core of dark red fruits. The 2016 leaves a coating of fine tannins lingering. Dark chocolate nuances blend with blood orange through the dramatically long and classically structured finale. This is a wonderfully complete Amarone. All the 2016 needs is more time in the cellar to blossom fully.
Sweet violets and roses give way to black cherries, balsamic spices and white smoke as the incredibly pretty 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva blossoms in the glass. This is an undeniably elegant and refined style, casting a polished display of licorice-tinged blackberries and savory herbs across a core of brisk acidity. The resulting expression is quite savory, tapering off long with building tannic tension that grows with each sip. Rich notes of mocha contrast fresh mint and salty minerals, as this finishes impossibly long with an umami feel. The 2015 gets an official “wow” in my book.
Bright ruby-red. Slightly reductive on the nose, followed by dried tomatoes, slight savoury tones as well as red berries. On the palate very juicy and with compact, tight tannins, unfurling beautiful savoury tones, and fruit. An elegant character with great length.
The Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva is a long, polished and flowing wine that offers lots of aromatic detail. At first, it shows plenty of ripe blackberry and Morello cherry, with the baked aromas you can expect of a hot and sunny vintage such as 2015. Then, you get toasted spice, tar and licorice. In terms of Amarone, which is almost always an exceedingly full-bodied wine, this expression is slightly more slender and accessible. It has plenty of power though, with 16% alcohol, which is contained within the solid frame of this northern Italian red. The blend is 75% Corvina, 15% Corvinone and 10% Rondinella. Production is 12,000 bottles.
A subtle Amarone, with supple tannins providing gentle definition for flavors of baked cherry, dates and accents of spiced orange peel and medicinal herbs. A touch of loamy earth lingers on the chewy finish. Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. Drink now through 2025. 2,083 cases made, 1,040 cases imported.
This ruby red wine has garnet reflections on the body. The notes of preserved cherry, spices and dried rose petal add complexity and elegance to this wine. The palate has refreshing warmth and subtlety. It is well-structured and and reflects hogh alcohol content. All in one, it's a perfect wine, well- balanced by tannins and elegant and refreshing acidity. Received the Gold Medal.
The wine has a ruby red color with garnet reflections. The impact of preserved cherry, spices, and dried rose petal lend complexity and elegance to the nose. To the palate, it has warmth and subtlety, well-structured and with a high alcohol content, balanced by velvety tannins and an elegant acidity and freshness.
The 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva manages to deliver all of the richness, opulence and dark intense fruit that you’d hope for, in an unbelievably vibrant and pretty expression. Blackberries, currants, cinnamon, clove, cedar and mocha create an initially intense burst of aromatics. Hints of stone dust and dried roses evolve in the glass, adding further depth yet also freshness over time. The textures here are elegance personified, as wave after wave of silken ripe red fruits and spices washes across the palate, all guided by juicy acids that create a pure and high-energy expression. Notions of tart cherry, licorice, bitters and baker’s chocolate linger for well over a minute. Amarone is often called a wine of meditation, and the 2013 fits that bill perfectly.
Dark garnet red. Showing a bouquet of dried cherries and plums and Christmas cake spice that are mirrored on the palate, the 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva is of medium weight with a tart edge that reflects the cool wet autumn weather of the vintage. A blend of 75% Corvina. 10% Rondinella, 15% Corvinone dried 4-5 months before pressing and fermentation then matured 5 years in large botti.
The 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva opens to a dark garnet color with crimson background tones. This is a powerful, full-bodied red with aromas of sour cherry, red currant and dried cranberry. The blend is 75% Corvina, 15% Corvinone and 10% Rondinella, and this Riserva ages in large oaks casks ofr four years. There is a sour note to this vintage that creates a sudden contrast to the background sweetness you usually get with Amarone, making it a good bet for Korean meat dishes or moo shu beef. Some 26,000 bottles were made, including magnums and other large formats.
Intense, bright ruby red. Elegant nose of ripe raspberries, forest fruits, slightly after leather. Balanced on the palate with elegant acidity and fine enamel, looks very delicate and fresh, at the same time still young, ends clearly and full of finesse in the finale.
An elegant Amarone, well-balanced and medium- to full-bodied, featuring fine tannins that provide light tension to the flavors of crushed cherry and dried fig, showing hints of loamy earth, licorice and dried thyme. Round and lingering, with a spiced finish. Drink now through 2025.
The 2012 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva shows the elegance and understated nature of the vintage through a refined display of spiced black cherries, plum sauce, cacao, lavender and sweet violets. This impresses with its soft and silky textures, coming across as feminine and poised, with tart wild berries and dark chocolate finding a cooling balance with bright acidity. The finish is slightly shorter than I’d prefer, yet it’s enjoyable all the same, with mineral underpinnings and dark inner florals.
Pressed rose, violet, forest floor, baked plum and cake spice aromas emerge on this full-bodied red. The concentrated palate also has finesse, offering dried cherry, licorice, cinnamon and pipe tobacco framed in fresh acidity and back of firm but refined tannins. Drink 2017-2025.
An infusion of 24 premium natural herbs, spices, roots and seeds (carried out using a traditional slow, cold maceration process) is blended with Italian grappa and water to craft this sophisticated, all-natural elixir. Though the original recipe dates back to 1935, this well-balanced “boutique” aperitif turns both classic and contemporary cocktails into an exceptional experience. The Aperitif is meant to be mixed: add soda or sparkling wine or lemon/lime/rhubarb juice for a refreshing, low alcohol drink…or vodka/gin and vermouth (Aperitif version of a Negroni) for a cocktail with a little more punch.
Known for their vermouths that date back to the 1890's, Contratto also makes two products suited for aperitivo hour. Called Bitter and Aperitif, both recipes are made with an Italian brandy base, both endure a cold maceration process for the botanical infusion, and both use natural coloring from carrot and red beet extracts for the color. Aperitif is the lighter of the two (13.5% ABV) with a prominent fresh orange/tangerine flavor and soft sweetness that lends itself to the spritz format. Botanicals in the Aperitif include mint, safflower, sage, and licorice. The Bitter has a darker magenta color and bold bitterness thanks to botanicals like nettle, wormwood, and cardamom, balanced out by brighter flavors like hibiscus and rhubarb. At 22% ABV, the Bitter is also higher in alcohol and mixes beautifully with gin and sweet vermouth in a Negroni.
Ateo (“atheist” in Italian) was first produced in 1989, a difficult vintage between two excellent years, as a result of the decision not to produce Brunello in less than ideal vintages. That vintage also represented the first harvest of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vineyards, the grapes that comprise the wine today. Ateo is a vibrant and juicy wine with intense herbal, spice and fruity (black cherry, plum) notes. A nice structure is supported by balanced tannins and indisputable personality.
Dark ruby violet with limited transparency. Invigorating scent of fresh raspberries and wild strawberries, cold fruit tea and some menthol, herbaceous. Juicy on the palate, berry fruit runs like a red thread, dry, grippy tannins and crisp acidity, dark chocolate and peppermint in the finish, unfortunately dries out a bit.
The 2012 Ateo, Ciacci's Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, captures the essence of this warm, radiant vintage in its exuberant fruit and juicy personality. Black cherry, plum, spice and licorice flesh out in a succulent wine to drink now and over the next decade or so. The blend is 50/50, but it is the Merlot that really seems to jump from the glass today.
The 2010 Ateo, a Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is striking in this great vintage. Firm tannins support expressive dark fruit, wild flowers, mint, sage and blackberries. Although a wine more of region than variety, the 2010 impresses for its vibrant, structured personality and impeccable class. A big, full-throttle finish rounds things out in style.
The 2008 Ateo (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) reveals gorgeous dark red fruit, herbs, cassis, cedar and sweet spices. This is a fairly compact Ateo - not surprising considering the vintage - yet it shows plenty of concentration, depth and sheer muscle. It is a terrific effort in this vintage.
The estate's 2007 Ateo is Cabernet Suvignon and Merlot now that the Sangiovese has been eliminated from the blend. Although the wine is made from international varieties here those grapes speak with a distinctly Tuscan accent. Plummy dark fruit leads to sweet herbs, spices, earthiness and minerals as this rich, deep wine opens up in the glass. This is one of the few 2007s that will actually benefit from another year or so in the bottle. It is gorgeous stuff!
This is a beautiful red blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Montalcino subzone of Santo'Antimo (where super Tuscan wines are made) with light mineral dusting that show delicately over a solid core of black fruit and exotic spice. The mouthfeel is bright and polished.
Bianchini's 2006 Ateo (Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) flows from the glass with tons of harmony and finesse. Here the fruit is ripe, sweet and expansive, yet the wine possesses remarkable poise, energy and vibrancy. This delicious wine from the Sant'Antimo appelation is not to be missed.
Ciacci's 2003 Ateo, a blend of Sangiovese, The 2001 Ateo, the house Sangiovese-Cabernet blend, si, for me, the best to date, a dark ruby with warm and spicy notes of red and black currants, rosemary and thyme, and minerals. The powerful, sustained palate is sizeable and of excellent intensity. Drink: 2004-2015. Cabernet and Merlot, is a potent effort bursting with intense, concentrated sweet dark fruit, licorice and underbrush flavors. While it shows the heat of the vintage, the higher acidity of the Sangiovese provides freshness and gives the wine a beautiful sense of harmony. It should be even better after a few years in the bottle. Anticipated maturity.
Ciacci's 2003 Ateo, is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, is a potent effort bursting with intnese, concentrate sweet dark fruit, licorice and underbrush flavors. While it shows the heat of the vintage, the higher acidity of the Sangiovese provides freshness and gives the wine a beautiful sense of harmony . It should be even better after a few years in the bottle. Anticipated maturity:2008-2015.
The 2001 Ateo, the house Sangiovese-Cabernet blend, si, for me, the best to date, a dark ruby with warm and spicy notes of red and black currants, rosemary and thyme, and minerals. The powerful, sustained palate is sizeable and of excellent intensity. Drink: 2004-2015.
The 1998 Ateo ( a blend of 60% Angiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon) is gloriously ripe, full-bodied, velvety-texture affort with a dark ruby/purple color, plenty of smoky, earthy, blackberry, cherry, and currant fruit, a touch of graphite, decent acidity, and a seamless, opulent, voluptuous finish. This compelling wine is meant to be drunk over the next 10-12 years.
The name of this wine, Back to Basics, perfectly sums up the philosophy of this Verdicchio, produced with 100% organically grown grapes and vinified and refined only in stainless steel, allowing for a pure expression of this typical variety. Aromas of flowers and ripe stone fruits alternate in a sort of perfumed dance, aromatic herbs joining in as well. A medium-structured wine reveals a perfect balance between sapidity and freshness and a citrus finish. Pairs perfectly with first dishes, vegetable sauces and fish.
Once again, I find myself thoroughly enjoying another Verdicchio; this time, it’s the 2019 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Back to Basics. This makes an amazing first impression, with its stunning golden color in the glass and spicy, wickedly fresh bouquet that mixes dusty flowers, incense, almonds and dried nectarines. It envelopes the palate in silken character, complemented by a pleasant inner sweetness, as mineral and ginger-tinged apple gives way to pretty inner florals and hints of honey. The mouth waters through the medium-length finale; savory, even salty, yet with a contrasting nuance of peach preserves that seals the deal.
The 2018 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Back to Basics is remarkably pretty and floral, showing hints of honied apple, kiwi and sweet herbal tea leaves. Oily textures, hosting ripe stone fruits and inner florals, are placed into sharper focus, as juicy acids maintain balance; yet I can’t help but feel that there may be some small amount of residual sugar here. Nevertheless, the Back to Basics is truly impressive, coming across as mouthwatering and fun with all of the textbook Verdicchio tension and minerality that we crave.
This Barbaresco Riserva is crafted from Nebbiolo grapes planted in the calcareous clay/sandy soil of the miniscule Bric Micca Cru, the highest point (1,200-1,300 feet above sea level) of the Baluchin vineyard in Neive. Baluchin means “star” in the Piedmontese dialect, and refers to the vineyard’s ideal position for star gazing on clear night. This is an extremely precise and focused expression of Nebbiolo, with razor sharp, elegant aromas of blue violets, flint and ash. The high altitude, and thus cooler temperatures, of the vineyard result in a particularly pretty and graceful wine that opens quite beautifully at even a young age. A close friend of Giorgio Rivetti, vitner Ezio Cocito vinifies his Baluchin at La Spinetta’s cellar in Castagnole Lanze.
This wine is always released much later than its peers. The Cocito 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin draws its fruit from a cool and high-altitude growing site in Neive where obtaining acidity and fruit brightness is never a problem. These conditions also suggest a longer cellar-aging window. The fact that the 2013 vintage was spared major temperature spikes during the summer months further reinforces these impressions. This Riserva presents dark cassis and plum, with some spicy elements of crushed clove, balsamic herb or rosemary essence. Only 6,000 bottles were made, and I think you can be confident in the aging of this bottle.
Cocito's 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is a gorgeous, modern-style wine. Sumptuous and racy with no hard edges, the 2013 offers tons of immediacy and sheer appeal. Succulent black cherry, plum, tobacco, menthol and licorice build as this extroverted Barbaresco shows off its allure, which is considerable.
The 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is wonderfully open and racy, which makes it an excellent choice for drinking over the near and medium term. Sweet red cherry, wild flowers, mint, white chocolate and a kiss of French oak complement the natural richness of the vintage nicely. Gracious and light on its feet, the 2011 shows plenty of Nebbiolo translucence in a forward, racy style. My sense is that the Baluchin would be even better with a less oak influence, something this wine doesn't really need.
I tasted this wine at the La Spinetta winery because vintner Ezio Cocito is a close friend of Giorgio Rivetti. The 2010 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is an extremely precise and focused expression of Nebbiolo. The aromas are razor sharp. Cocito farms some of the highest-altitude vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation at 400 meters above sea level. I can only imagine that achieving ripeness must be a challenge in the coolest vintages. The vines are 24 years old, and therefore stable and consistent in terms of their output. The vineyard measures a mere 1.2 hectares and only 4,000 bottles were made. Limestone soils push elegant aromas of blue violets, flint and campfire ash.
The Cocito 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is a slightly softer and fruitier expression of Nebbiolo compared to the more linear 2008 vintage of the same wine. This Riserva shows abundant aromas of red fruit, pressed rose, cola, licorice, tar and tilled earth. The presentation is smooth, rich and enduring. Stylistically speaking, this is an opulent and generous expression of Nebbiolo.
The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin fleshes out beautifully in the glass. Round, sensual and inviting, the 2009 benefits from the warmer growing season, which gives it a bit more depth and richness than the 2008. Sweet red cherry, orange peel, white pepper and mint add shades of complexity as this nuanced Barbaresco opens up effortlessly in the glass.
The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is an austere and masculine expression with savory of dark fruit, tobacco and dusty earth. The wine leaves a very long impression on the finish. Released eight years after the harvest, the mouthfeel is dry, silghtly astringent and already showing its first signs of an elegant evolution. This vintage offers a classic and linear interpretation of Nebbiolo.
The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin is deep, powerful and intense. Black cherry, plum, violets, spices and lavender all meld together in a big, rich Barbaresco endowed with power and intensity. Although a touch slender because of the vineyard's altitude and the conditions of the year, the 2008 Baluchin is quite pretty.
In 2006 Giorgio Rivetti bought 4 hectares (10 acres) plot directly from the last of the Bordini family, who farmed the vineyard for over 300 years. Bordini is located adjacent to the Starderi vineyard on its western corner and it is exclusively plated to the Nebbiolo grape. The vines are 20-25 year old growing in the calcareous soils at 270 meters above sea level (885 feet). Barbresco Brodini ages for 20-22 months in oak barriques yielding an elegant and floral Barbaresco representative of La Spinetta style.
The La Spinetta 2020 Barbaresco Bordini has a spicy note on first nose that recalls cinnamon and a touch of something darker like crushed clove. This warm-vintage expression of Nebbiolo embraces rich fruit aromas of blackberry and dark currant, and there is an earthy side with rusty nail and potting soil. It closes with high-toned accents of balsam herb or eucalyptus oil.
La Spinetta's 2019 Barbaresco Bordini opens to a wide and ample set of Nebbiolo aromas spanning from Morello cherry and plum, to dark earth and spicy licorice. This is a solid, mid-weight expression and a wine that ultimately lasts long on the palate thanks to the density and quality of its texture.
The 2019 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is a powerful, brooding wine that packs a ton of punch. I would give it a few hours of air to help soften some of the formidable tannins. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, leather, sweet spice, flowers, licorice and menthol are all amplified, as are the tannins. This is far from an easy going Barbaresco, but it does open nicely with aeration.
La Spinetta's 2018 Barbaresco Bordini is a very nuanced and streamlined expression. It opens softly to present aromas of red and purple currants. The elegance of the wine comes out, thanks to the subtle mineral tones of crushed limestone and dry earth that lift so delicately from the bouquet. The La Spinetta house style is normally richer and more concentrated, and this cool vintage comes as a nice surprise.
Bordini has southeast exposition with sandy soils at 240 meters elevation. The 2018 Barbaresco Bordini offers soft floral aromas of candied peach, wild strawberry, and cinnamon. The palate is medium-bodied and inviting, with fresh raspberry, delicately steeped tea, and rosewater. It has fine tannins, and with its lean texture and refreshing acidity, it is prime for early drinking. Enjoy 2021-2028.
From the comune of Neive, the 2017 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is made from youngish vines, aged about 30 years on average. Bright, tonic and fresh, Bordini offers an accessible and approachable expression of aged Nebbiolo that could work well in a restaurant setting or for near-term consumption. The wine opens to a vibrant bouquet with cherry, licorice, tar and campfire ash. The tannins are noticeable and firm, reflecting the heat of the vintage but forging forward to shape a long and polished finish.
The 2017 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is a supple, easygoing wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. Sweet raspberry fruit, crushed rose petal, sweet spice and a kick of new French oak give this mid-weight Barbaresco tons of sheer allure. In 2017, the Bordini is terrific.
This Barbaresco is of a thicker and darker concentration than the others within this set of new releases, with ripe cherry fruit and dark berries that lift immediately from the glass. But the 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is thinner and less consequential in the mouth than I had expected from the appearance. This is a very linear and streamlined approach that could accompany a tenderloin carpaccio with arugula, shaved Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. Some 11,500 bottles were produced.
The 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is an attractive wine, especially in its peer group. Pretty floral, red berry fruit, mint and a touch of small French oak are all beautifully lifted. In the glass, the 2016 is a touch slender and nervous, but very attractive just the same. Dried cherry, crushed flowers, sweet tobacco, mint and white pepper and a touch of new oak give the 2016 a bright, piercing upper register.
Exotic aromas of rose, peony, raspberry and kirsch are shaded by juniper, wild thyme and tar accents. This is an elegant red, firmly structured yet balanced and long, with a persistent, detailed finish. Best from 2022 through 2036. 1,080 cases made, 380 cases imported.
Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta is one of the region's leading modernists, producing voluptuous wines with great intensity of flavour. This is aged in older tonneaux so is not overtly oaky. The nose is opulent, with super-ripe but not overblown cherry aromas, and the attack is sweet, concentrated and tannic, blending breadth and assertion. It's powerful and spicy, showing energy rather than upfront fruitiness, with a long, chewy finish.
The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is La Spinetta's most accessible expression of Barbaresco. I tasted the wine one month after it was bottled. This edition should be hitting the market within the next few months. Fruit for this wine comes from the southeast side of the Bordini cru that is known for softer and sweeter berries. That ripeness is particularly evident in this warm vintage. This wine is packed tight with flavors of cherry and blackberry confit and ends with powerful 14.5% alcohol. This is a ripe-tasting, near-term Barbaresco
La Spinetta's 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is soft, open-knit and inviting, all of which makes it a fine choice for drinking over the next decade or so. Crushed flowers, dried herbs, tobacco, cedar and mint are all nicely lifted in this decidedly fragrant, mid-weight Barbaresco.
Deep ruby red with slightly brightening edges. Clear, very inviting nose, raspberry and eucalyptus candy openly escape from the glass, has fine spicy notes of vanilla in the background. Very full with a strongly balanced acid-tannin interplay, fruit - and fine-meshed, endlessly long, has great recognition potential.
The 2012 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is a fascinating wine that really stands apart from its peers. I can't say htat everyone will love it, but ypu can't deny the originality and sheer character of this wine. There is an exotic element to the bouquet that comes off as clove, licorice and barbecue smoke. This is avery aromatic rendition of Nebbiolo. This year those opulent spice tones are more graceful and feminine.
The 2011 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini shows more of the heat that defines this vintage. This Barbaresco is structured and firm with soft layers of Morello cherry, blackberry syrup, exotic spice, leather tar and road paving. The mouthfeel is soft and yielding with riper tannins and dark, fruity consistency. This Barbaresco will perform well during a near and medium-term drinking window
The 2011 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini shows more of the heat that defines this vintage. This Barbaresco is structured and firm with soft layers of Morello cherry, blackberry syrup, exotic spice, leather tar and road paving. The mouthfeel is soft and yielding with riper tannins and dark, fruity consistency. This Barbaresco will perfowm well during a near and medium-term drinking window. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Giorgio Ribetti this year at the Campe winery just outside the Grinzane Cavour castle. This gave me the opportunity to taste his fabulous 2005 Riservas from magnum (that will be released later this year in September) and a chance to catch up some back vintages. La Spinetta is synonymous with one of the most distinctive winemaking styles in the Langhe. The wines are easily identifiable in a blind tasting because, acroos the board, they offer a uniquely intense aromatic delivery. The bouquets on the 2013 wines are deeply fragant and fruity, the 2012 vintage is more integrated with spice and tobacco. The 2011 vintage is marked by profound balsam notes of cola, mint and medicinal herbs. These are extremely personalized wines.
The 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini sees fruit harvested from 30- to 35-year-old vines planted in the sandy soils of the Bordini cru of Neive. The first vintage produced was 2006. This wine is hugely aromatic with floral tones of pressed violets and lavender backed by garden herbs and mint. The long, menthol finish is divine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. Giorgio Rivetti has unveiled a stunning line of new wines, and a few surprises as well, from his impeccable winery and tasting room at the foot of the Grinzane Cavour castle. The line of Riserva Barbarescos and Riserva Barolo will only be bottled in magnums in the best vintages. The year 2004 is the inaugural vintage of theses special releases. Giorgio purchased a beautiful estate in the Grinzane Cavour estate for the making Barolo. His vineyard graces a dome-shaped hill and is planted with 55-to 60-year-old Nebbiolo vines.
The 2009 Barbaresco Bordini is an attractive, entry-level wine from La Spinetta. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries mint and spices flesh out as the wine opens up in the glass. A juicy, radiant Barbaresco, the Bordini captures the best qualities of the eyar in its open personality. This is a relatively accessible, soft Barbaresco that will drink well with minimum cellaring. A final burst of sweet floral and spice-infused notes add complexity on the finish.
The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is an attractive, relatively accessible Barbaresco laced with super-ripe red cherries, flowers and sweet spices. It shows good balance and an inviting personality, if not quite the pedigree of the 2007. The fruit dries out just a bit on the finish, exposing slight elements of dryness on the tannin. Anticipated maturity 2012-2018. This is a superb set of wines from Giorgio Rivetti. The 2008 Barbareschi are among the strongest wines of the year, while the 2007 Barolo Campe is the best wine to merge from Rivetti's vineyards in Grinzane Cavour. The La Spinetta style focusing on wines of great textural richness remains intact, but is dialed in to a greater degree with each passing vintage.
(Just the third vintage from these 30-year-old south-facing vines; aged in a few new barriques and the rest 600-liter barrels): Medium red. Dark berries, graphite, mint and violet on the fruity nose. Fresh, perfumed and energetic, with good cut to the dark berry, floral and tobacco flavors. The building tannins are firm and serious but not dry. Doesn't have quite body or power of Rivetti's other Barbarescos but made an elegant style. Rivetti says it's half the price of his other Barbarescos.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordiini is truly beautiful. A translucent red, the Bordini flows with the essence of crushed flowers, berries and sweet baking spices, all of which come together in a mid-weight frame. This shows lovely density and richness in a classy, understated style, with plenty of detail and a long, polished finish. As good as this is, I get the sense there is significant potential for this vineyard to produce even better wine. In 2007 the Bordini is a gem from La Spinetta.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is truly beautiful. A translucent red, the Bordini flows with the seence of crushed flowers, berries and sweet baking spices, all of which come together in a mid-weight frame. This shows lovely density and richness in a classy, understated style, with plenty of detail and a long, polished finish. As good as this is, I get the sense there is significant potential for this vineyard to produce even better wine. In 2007 the Bordini is a gem form La Spinetta. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.
(from steep, south-facing 25-year-old vines in Nieve; Rivetti bought this vineyard in 2006; bottled in July of this year with Rivetti's 2007 Barbaresco) Medium red. Dried rose and marzipan on the nose. A sweet and creamy style of 2006, but with firm underlying tannic structured and a calcaire element giving a savory quality to the strawberry and mineral flavors. Finishes with big, broad serious tannins. Complex rather than powerful, but there's no shortage of grip here. A very elegant style. Rivetti's kept this longer in oak (new and once-used barriques) because it was a new wine for him and he wanted to see how it evolved.
A gorgeous wine, vivid and nuanced with sensual aromas of redcurrant, plum, earth, herbs, spices and flowers (rose petals, lavender). On the palate, this top Barbaresco reveals a round, dense texture with a classically dry finish and ripe tannins that dust the front teeth. Sometimes a bit shy at first, Gallina is often considered the most age-worthy of the three top La Spinetta Barbaresco wines, truly blossoming after a bit of time in the cellar. This pretty wine has an aging potential of at least 25-30 years and is ideal paired with grilled food, and rich meat dishes.
The 2020 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is terrific. Brilliant and focused, with mid-weight depth, the 2020 impresses with its poise more than anything else. All the elements are so well balanced. Dried flowers, spice, herbs, mint and licorice open with a bit of coaxing. As is often the case, the Gallina is quite understated in feel.
The La Spinetta 2020 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù (with the green label and heavy bottle) has a slightly sweet side that is reinforced by the warm sunshine of the summer season but also from the oak aging. It goes into barrique for 22 months. There is ripe cherry and cassis along with spice and cured tobacco. The wine is open-knit and quite accessible in terms of mouthfeel. This Barbaresco is pretty much ready to drink straight out of the gate.
The 2019 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is an elegant, nuanced wine. Crushed flowers, mint, sweet red cherry, kirsch, sweet French oak and incense all grace this silky, understated Barbaresco. Gallina is often quite forthcoming, but the 2019 is more classically austere in bearing. I suspect it will age well, but there is less immediate charm than in most years.
Aromatic, this red features raspberry, cherry, floral, iron, tar and tobacco aromas and flavors. A dense matrix of tannins lends support and this cruises to a lingering aftertaste. Shows fine harmony and potential. Best from 2026 through 2045. 500 cases made, 45 cases imported.
From the south-facing slope in Nieve, the 2018 Barbaresco Gallina Versu was aged for 20-22 months in French oak, of which 20% was new and the remainder second-use. This wine has an incredible lifted perfume of crushed roses, candied raspberry, cedar, and menthol. Polished, with pure and confected cherry fruit on the palate, its tannins take a long time to emerge and show the wines structure, which is warming with baking spice. Drink 2024-2042.
With fruit from Neive, the La Spinetta 2018 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù is packaged in a heavy glass bottle. The wine is extremely polished and tight, especially at this young stage, with a pretty assembly of wild berry, grilled herb, blue flower and crushed stone. What's terrific here is that no element is out of place. These different characteristics all work together to create lasting balance, and I'm sure that this sensation will only become more evident as the wine takes on more bottle age.
This fruit-forward Barbaresco offers flavors of juicy dark cherry and raspberry woven with notes of cedar and anise. The fruit tones turn darker with air, taking on shades of cola and cherry pit as the fruit fights through the angular tannins. Decant before serving to give all of the elements time to knit together.
La Spinetta's 2017 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù draws its fruit from a site in Neive with old vines. Intensity and richness are two qualities often associated with the wine made at this historic estate. A rotofermenter is used during winemaking to increase color concentration and richness, although its use is carefully measured and calculated says Giorgio Rivetti. The house style embraces barrique aging, and you get some soft spice and spent ember as a result. The 2017 vintage is distinguished by extra tightness, and you sense that in this wine.
Wow. This is at once a pronounced and vibrant nose, revealing wild strawberries, peaches, freshly picked raspberries, cinnamon, rose petals and stems. I love the steely tannins on the palate, which carve out an iron fist of fruit, but also a generous and velvety texture. Long and intense on the finish. Drink in 2024.
Supremely elegant and light on its feet, La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina is simply fabulous. Freshly cut flowers, mint, spice and a touch of French oak add nuance to a core of sweet red/purplish berry fruit. Wonderfully supple and ract, the Gallina captures every bit of the potential 2016 had to offer. This is such a gorgeous wine. I can't remenber tasting a Gallina here with this much diversity.
The 2016 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù is a streamlined wine that brings less to the table in terms of richness but more in terms of intensity and structure. The tannins here are well integrated, and there are some light notes of spice and tobacco, but this beautiful Nebbiolo still has a way to go. This vintage should look forward to aging gracefully. The wine ages in oak for 22 months. Production is ample with 10,500 bottles made.
The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is absolutely gorgeous. Vivid and nuanced on the palate, the 2015 is fresh, juicy and flat-out delicious. The Gallina is often a shy wine that needs time in bottle to truly blossom, but the 2015 seems to have skipped that initial phase of reticence. In two separate tastings, the 2015 has been incredibly sensual and polished. Historically, the Gallina has the most consistent track record in aging of the three top Barbarescos in the range. It will be interesting to see if that is the case here as well. For now, the 2015 Gallina is one of the finest wines I have ever tasted from La Spinetta.
Ripeness, or over-ripeness to be more specific, is a problem across the board with the Barbaresco wines from this vintage. The team at La Spinetta has expertly faced the problem. The 2015 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù does indeed show a dark, more exuberant quality of fruit, but the wine never loses sight of its inner elegance and grace. Instead, the fruit's maturity and sweetness is played out in terms of the thick layering and density that is very apparent to the palate.
This is a beautiful wine and one that I preferred (ever so slightly) over the Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù of the same vintage. The 2014 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù is especially elegant and fine, rendering the idea that its future evolution has a long way to go. That profound elegance continues to the palate where the wine wraps softly over the senses. That fine, but equally powerful nature of the wine's textural richness is what stands out most here. The mouthfeel is just fantastic.
La Spinetta's 2014 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is super-polished and refined. Sweet floral notes meld crystalline bright red stone fruit in a mid-weight, nuanced Barbaresco long on polish and class. Rose petal, bright red stone fruit, French oak and mint overtones develop nicely in the glass. The 2014 finishes with terrific energy and a sense of classic Nebbiolo austerity that is one of the signatures of the vintage. Historically, Gallina is the least impressive of the Spinetta Barbarescos, and yet it has proven to have the most consistent track record of aging.
The 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is a great introduction to the vintage at La Spinetta. Gallina tends to give open, soft Barbarescos that drink well young. Not here. The 2013 is unusually bright, tense and focused for this wine, with darker fruit and more tightly wound personality than I am used to seeing. Dark red cherry, mint, wild flowers and spices come together, but the 2013 is going to need time to fully come together. Even today, though, it is striking. There is a spherical breadth to the 2013 that is impossible to miss.
The 2013 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù offers a tight brickwork of aromas with toned muscle and solid build at the back. The bouquet shows profound tones of dark fruit, spice, leather, tobacco, crushed stone and tar. La Spinetta's signature style, with more pronounced aromas, is very much on display in this wine.
Underbrush, dried rose, aromatic herb and a balsamic note of menthol slowly take shape. The full-bodied palate offers French oak, licorice, espresso, raspberry jam and mint alongside aggressive, somewhat grainy, tannins that leave a bracing finish. Drink 2019–2028.
The 2012 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù is a gorgeous expression that marches to the beat of its own drum (as do all of Giorgio Rivetti's fascinating wines). The wine delivers intensity, density and freshness in equal measure throughout its balanced presentation. The perfumed bouquet offers dark fruit and dried cherry with subtle touches of cinnamon and dark cola in a background role.
The 2011 Barbaresco Gallina is fabulous. It has many of the same tonalities of fruit and overall personality as the 2010, but with more richness, volume and depth, all signatures of the vintage. Sweet red berries, rose petals, flowers of all kinds, mint and sweet spices are all woven togehter in a wine of notable class. Elegant and finessed all the way, the 2011 Gallina is impressive from the very first taste. The long silky finish is laced with exotic floral and spice nuances, all of which add intrigue.
The La Spinetta 2011 Barbaresco Gallina Vursu is a gorgeous expression that embrances the fullest, most generous and abundant side of the Nebbiolo grape. This warm vintage Barbaresco pushes all of the right buttons. The wine excels in terms of texture and intensity. Candied cherry and blackberry syrup emerge from the nose with dark spice, leather and moist chewing tobacco. The wine is polished and fine in terms of texture and elegant tertiary notes are already showing beautififully. This is a standout Barbaresco.
A Barbaresco that shows unique dried-fruit and warm-stone aromas, like a warm summer afternoon in the vineyards. Full body with velvety tannins and fresh acidity. It's long and intense. Lots going on here. Powerful. One of the best Gallinas ever form here. Better in 2018, but wonderful to taste now.
The 2010 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina comes from the low-yield producing old wines in Nieve. The wine is immensely pleasurable and bright with beautiful aromatics intensity that shines bright from the glass. Only 900 cases are produced. This vineyard expression offers notable freshness and brightness that make it suitable for long cellar aging. This is a truly magnificient wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028. Giorgio Rivetti has unveiled a stuning line of new wines, and a few surprises as well, from his impeccable winery and tasting room at the foot of the Grinzale Cavour castle. The line of Riserva Barbarescos and Riserva Barolo willonly be bottled in magnums in the best vintages. The year 2004 is the inaugural vintage of these special releases. Giorgio purchased a beautiful estate in the Grinzane Cavour estate for making Barolo. His vineyard graces a dome-shaped hill and is planted with 55- to 60- year-old Nebbiol vines.
A sweet, floral bouquet leads to expressive layers of fruit in the 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina. There is an immediacy to the Gallina that is quite appealing. White fruffles, red berries and spices emerge over time, adding further complexity. I am surprised by how ell the 2009 is showing today, even if it starts to shut down a bit in the glass. The tannins are firm, yet there is more than enough fruit to fill out the wine's frame. This is one of the better young Gallinas I remember tasting. A rich, textured finish rounds things out in style. There is a lot to like and love in the Gallina. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
A sweet , floral bouquet leads to expressive layers of fruit in the 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina. There is an immediacy to the Gallina that is quite appealing. White truffles, red berries and spices emerge over time, adding further complexity. I am surprised by how well the 2009 is showing today, even if it starts to shut down a bit in the glass. The tannins are firm, yet there is more than enough fruit to fill out the wine's frame. This is one of the better young Gallinas I remenber tasting. A rich, texture finish rounds things out in style. There is a lot to like and love in the Gallina.
Good full red. Ripe cherry, redcurrant, mocha, spices and flowers on the nose. Velvety, plum and spicy, with rich plum and currant fruit flavors accented by the note of tobacco. Finishes fine and long, with a burst of ripe tannins. "Always to drink earlier than the Starderi and Valeirano," says Rivetti.
The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina bursts from the glass with a rush of dark fruit. This is one of the more reticent, powerful Gallinas I can remember tasting from La Spinetta. Dark flowers, mint, tar, licorice and French oak are some of the notes that resonate on the explosive finish. This is a wine that will require patience, but it is impressive for its completeness, something I haven’t always been able to say about this wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.
The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina bursts from the glass with a rush of dark fruit. This is one of the more reticent, powerful Gallinas I can remember tasting from La Spinetta. Dark flowers, mint, tar, licorice and French oak are some of the notes that resonate on the explosive finish. This is a wine that will require patience, but it is impressive for its completeness, something I haven't always been able to say about this wine.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is focused and nicely articulated. This is a rather firm, nuanced Gallina from La Spinetta with gorgeous length, tons of detail and fabulous overall balance. It is at once more concentrated and also deeper than the Bordini, so another few years in bottle seem a prerequisite. The Gallina is the most improved wine the estate's lineup. The 2007 is quite possibly the most polished, elegant Gallina I have ever tasted here.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is focused and nicely articulated. This is a rather firm, nuanced Gallina from La Spinetta with gorgeous length, tons of detail and fabulous overall balance. It is at once more concentrated and also deeper than the Bordini, so another few years in bottle seem a prerequisite. The Gallina is the most improved wine the estate’s lineup. The 2007 is quite possibly the most polished, elegant Gallina I have ever tasted here. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2027.
The 2006 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina opens with sexy, super-ripe aromas that continue on to the palate, where the wine reveals a gorgeous core of ripe red fruit. This is an especially elegant Gallina with tons of length and a finessed close. The 2006 Gallina will be hard to resist in its youth, but in a few years’ time the tannins should soften a touch, bringing the wine into even better balance. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2021.
The 2006 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina opens with sexy, super-ripe aromas that continue on to the palate, where the wine reveals a gorgeous core of ripe red fruit. This is an especially elegant Gallina with tons of length and a finessed close. The 2006 Gallina will be hard to resist in its youth, but in a few years' time the tannins should soften a touch, bringing the wine into even better balance.
The 2005 Barbaresco Gallina has developed lovely tertiary notes since I last tasted it a few years back. Leather, smoke, tobacco, licorice and game meld into a core of intense dark fruit. As it so often does, the Gallina has a way of putting on considerable weight in bottle. The 2005 is now close to fully mature, and, while there is no upside in holding bottles further, the wine has enough depth to hold on for at least another handful of years.
Vigneto Gallina is a refined and elegant wine that boldly unveils a determined personality and specific aromas of spice, black fruit, licorice and a touch of smoked bacon. The wine is compact and fresh with lingering tones of smoke and berry fruit and an extra long finish.
The 2005 Barbaresco Gallina is an especially successful wine in this vintage. A soft, caressing core of fruit provides striking balance to the wine’s tannins. Notes of super-ripe red cherries, sweet herbs, roses and toasted oak emerge from this medium-bodied Barbaresco. As is usually the case, the Gallina is the most forward of the Spinetta Barbarescos, and this is a beautiful effort, particularly in this vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.
Good medium red. Sexy, complex aromas of strawberry liquor, raspberry, iris, truffle, chocolate, mocha and menthol. Suave on entry, then full, lush, sweet and seamless in the middle palate, with subtle floral lift contribuiting to the impressin of definition. Strong in extract and quite fine-grained in spite of its thickness. Finishes impressively long, with very suave tannins.
The 2004 Barbaresco Gallina opens with the hallmark Spinetta super-ripe aromatics. Unlike past recent vintages, it has plenty of stuffing to fill out its frame, with generous sweet fruit, spices, coffee beans and truffles that flow from the glass. It offers outstanding persistence and a long, caressing finish, even if it isn't as vibrant as the estate's other 2004 Barbarescos. It should be the first wine of these 2004 Barbarescos to reach maturity. This is a terrific effort from Rivetti. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2016. This is very strong set of releases from La Spinetta and propietor Giorgio Rivetti. The 2004 Barbarescos are easilty the best of his career. The wines still see 100% new French oak, but toast levels have been reduced and the Barbarescos now spend 12 months in oak rather than the 18 months they saw in previous vintages. Both changes have had a remarkably positive effect in allowing more site-specific character and Nebbiolo fruit to come through. The 2003 Barolo Campe shows that Rivetti is makning important strides with this wine as well. Only the 2005 Barberas are dissappointing, but that is not entirely surprising given the uneven growing season. In the past La Spinetta was an estate that relied just as much on style as substance. The 2004 Barbarescos, and specilly the Standeri, are the first wines that truly live up to the glamorous image that Giorgio Rivetti has masterfully succeeded in creating.
(from a vineyard in Barbaresco) Medium red. Reticent but sweet aromas of cherry, marzipan and spicy oak, with underlying minerality giving the nose a coolness. Then complex, aromatic and pungent on the palate, with a restrained sweetnes, sappy acids and excellent concentration. A classic in the modern style, finishing with very broad, suave tannins, excellent density and a note of tobacco. This really calls for five years or so of patience. Seems a bit less dominanted by oak than some recent vintages of this bottling.
Wonderful bright fruit, with hints of minerals and fresh flowers. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a long, long finish. Concentrated and powerful, showing layers and layers of fruit and tannins. The best I have had from this fanstastic winemaker. Best after 2009. 1,125 cases made.
As for the other magnum Riservas, grapes for the Barbaresco Riserva Gallina magnum come exclusively from the highest part of the Gallina vineyard, an ideal location for the sustainably-farmed vines, free of pesticides, herbicides and any heavy machinery that might interfere with the purity of the vineyard and grapes. The bouquet of this exclusive wine is dense and velvety, loaded with chocolate, berries and spice. In the mouth, the wine is tense and full-bodied with a beautiful blueberry, spice and mineral character. Polished and chewy tannins give way to a long and flavorful finish. Released 10 years after harvest.
The 2012 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Gallina (Magnum) has aged quite well. Medium in body, with fine detail, the 2012 is impeccably balanced from start to finish. Pretty floral and spice notes play off a core of dark red-toned fruit. There's more oak flavor and tannin than the wines of today, but this is very good.
La Spinetta's 2010 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Gallina (Magnum) is still very young! Dark and sumptuous, the Gallina is a powerful wine. Ripe black cherry, dried herbs, spice, licorice and sweet new oak lend an extic flair. The Galina is always so intersting; it is the most understated of the three Barbarescos on release, and also the wine that ages the best. The 2010 has plenty of the flamboyence of this era at La Spinetta. It will drink beautifully for another decade or more.
The La Spinetta 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina Vürsù (Magnum) is only made in large-format bottles and is released 10 years after the harvest. The Gallina cru is known for its balanced and fruit-forward wines that don't shy away in terms of structure. This release offers tight textural stitching with interwoven layers of dark fruit, spice, savory licorice, smoke and campfire ash. The tannins, both from the fruit and oak, already show full integration at this point.
The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (magnum) is powerful, dense and explosive. As it always does, the Gallina puts on a ton of weight in the bottle. Black cherry, plum, smoke, cedar, chocolate, spice and leather give the 2009 a real felling of breadth and pure power. Plush, silky and flamboyant, the 2009 is gorgeous today, and has another decade plus of fine drinking still to offer. The dense, extracted style, the hallmark of a previous era at La Spinetta, is evident.
The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Gallina (magnum) is in a great spot for the drinking now. If anything, it is still too young. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, licorice, spice and menthol all flesh out in this decidedly virile, imposing Barbaresco. The oak remains present, and yet the 2008 is aging very, very gracefully, especially for such a big wine. But that is not entirely surprising, as the Gallina has always aged the best of the three La Spinetta Barbarescos. This is an impressive showing.
This is a neat little package - or big package, the case of this wine, because it is only magnum - with ripe, raisiny intensity and black fruit written all over it. It should be noted that the 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (Magnum) drifts a little flat and soft in the mouth at the moemnt, even after signifcant time in glass, but that almost seems irrelevant compared to the long-term picture here. This Riserva, built for the very long haul, promises to impress with its evolved floral and earthy tones that come through with clarity. The wine sees nearly three years of oak aging. A mere 600 magnum bottles were produced.
Only in the best vintages, La Spinetta releases magnum-only editions of its top wines. These wines are generally released ten years after the harvest following additional bottle aging (and one extra year of oak) under the most stringent conditions back at the winery. This year, one of these absolute gems is the 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (Magnum). I am a huge fan of the sheer elegance produced in this vineyard. This quality has been harnessed to perfection in the case of this wine. It is beautifully evolved, long and silky. Yet, the primary fruit sings loudest of all. This is a delightful achievement.
Tasted from magnum, the 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Gallina Vürsù will be released in September 2016. This is a spectacular wine that is aging very slowly, especially in this big bottle format. The Gallina vineyard consistently delivers a deeply fruit-forward profile and you definitely recognize that here. Despite its age, this Barbaresco offers a surprisingly fresh bouquet that is complex and nuanced at the same time. The mouthfeel is characterized by crunchy tannins and crisp freshness.
The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (magnum) has come together beautifully since it was bottled. The tannins have begun to soften, while the flavors are just now beginning to show the first signs of tertiary complexity. Hints of tobacco, new leather, spices and menthol wrap around the fruit-driven finish.
This wine was tasted in a magnum. The 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Gallina offers sheer delight and power. The fine intensity and pristine quality of the bouquet could make you think the wine is younger than it really is. Smoked ham, licorice, dried flowers, rosehip, anise seed and balsam notes all stand to attention. The wine has evolved gracefully these past years and promises to continue down its glorious path. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2035.
The 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (magnum) is beautiful. Sweet herbs, menthol, tobacco, cinnamon, plums and red cherries wrap around the palate in a super-sexy, luscious Barbaresco loaded with personality. Tasted from magnum, the 2004 Riserva has barely budged. Readers lucky enough to own the magnums can look forward to another decade plus of exceptional drinking. The 2004 recalls a period in La Spinetta' s history when the wines were oakier, but now, after some years in bottle, all of the elements have come together nicely. A burst of super-ripe, opulent fruit rounds out the perfumed finish in this dazzling Barbaresco from La Spinetta.
The 2001 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina, a rich dark ruby, opens with a beautiful floral nose accented by subtle hints of white truffle and earthiness. It is ripe and sweet on the palate, showing good depth as well as complexity, with a somewhat attenuated finish and youthful, firm tannins. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2015.
The Starderi represents another top Barbaresco wine in the La Spinetta line-up, from the Starderi vineyard in Nieve. Elegant, refined aromatics of red-toned fruit, flowers and mint integrate with firm acidity and serious tannins, providing a sound structural backbone to the wine. Aged in new, medium-toast French barriques, the oak will fully integrate with time, as will the youthful tannins. This is a sophisticated and concentrated Barbaresco whose bright citrus and floral notes add a finishing touch and give something to look forward to.
With the red label, the La Spinetta 2020 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù shows dark fruit, dried cherry and tarry smoke. There is a savory side to Starderi, and the wine delivers extra density and concentration to the finish. Like some of the other expressions from the warm 2020 growing season, this wine is more immediate overall, making it good for near and medium-term drinking. But it should also age nicely, should you decide to take that route.
Top 100 Wines of Italy - #67. Beautiful aromas of plums and violets with some flint. Full-bodied. Layered and softly chewy. Meat, berry and hints of cedar and nutmeg. Flavorful finish. Solid and very together with a softness at the back of the palate. Drink in 2026 and beyond.
The 2019 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is terrific. Vertical and focused, the Starderi impresses with its energy, cut and drive. There's perhaps a bit less heft than in most years, but that is not a bad thing. Dark red cherry, raspberry, lavender and sage lend quite a bit of complexity to this substantial Barbaresco from La Spinetta. It will be interesting to see if the 2019 fleshes out with bottle age.
The La Spinetta 2019 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù is perfumed and bright with dark rose and wild plum. The wine is solid and dense, with a pretty presentation of fruit that feels healthy and crunchy at the same time. The tannins are well integrated into this structured, full-bodied Barbaresco. The Starderi has shown a very consistent performance over the years. These releases from La Spinetta are all packaged in big, heavy glass bottles.
A powerful red, yet well-defined too, with strawberry, cherry, floral, mineral and tobacco aromas and flavors aligned to a muscular structure. Feels balanced overall, yet will take a few years to fully integrate. Best from 2026 through 2045. 580 cases made, 45 cases imported.
Starderi faces southwest, with greater exposure to the moderating influence of the Tanaro River. There are more spiced aromas in the 2018 Barbaresco Starderi Versu, including aniseed, white pepper, dried cherry, and fresh leather. The palate is incredibly long and inviting, with black raspberry, baking spice, and tea leaf. Drink 2022-2045.
Another especially elegant expression from La Spinetta, the 2018 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù demonstrates how well this winery worked in this slightly cooler growing season. All the wines across this portfolio appear bright and more ethereal, representing a subtle pivot for proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and his crew. Dried cassis, limestone and crushed flowers emerge from the bouquet, and the wine imparts a lasting and highly polished mouthfeel.
The 2017 Barbaresco Starderi offers up its signature red/purplish fruit with soft contours and a bit less heft than is typical, all of which makes it more approachable than the norm for this Neive Barbaresco. In 2017, the Starderi is bold, lush and easy to enjoy, even now as a young wine. Rose petal, mint and a kick of new French oak punctuates the finish.
The La Spinetta 2017 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù stands out for its grace and elegance in this vintage. The 2017 growing season was not an easy one, with April hail in Neive followed by a scorching hot summer that further reduced yields and forced stringent quality selections at the sorting table. The Starderi site is planted to 55- to 65-year-old vines, and you do feel extra fruit richness and concentration as a result. Dark fruit, wild plum and dried blackberry segue to spice and campfire ash on this barrique-aged Nebbiolo.
The 2016 Barbaresco Starderi is outrageously beautiful. Dense, powerful and rich, the 2016 races out of the glass with huge fruit to match its classically mid-weight profile. Super-ripe red/purplish berry fruit, wild flowers, licorice and mint play off huge tannins with real grace. Readers have to be patient, but the 2016 Starderi is a rock star wine. That's pretty much all there is to it.
The 2016 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù starts with a no-nonsense obscure color and ends with lots of dark fruit on the close. In between, it shows a spot of bitterness on the tongue, delivered with ripe fruit and some rather tight tannins. There are lots of tar notes here too, along with the sort of resin and camphor ash you might not have been expecting from such a youthful Barbaresco. But this one has a heavy center of gravity and is not to be trifled with. It's a big and bold wine that demands a rare cut of beef. Some 14,500 bottles were made.
The 2015 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù is a wine of towering stature, girth and power. The wine's tannic presence is very evident, and that undeniable structure is broad and underlying. I would suggest putting this bottle aside for at least five more years before popping the cork. The beauty here is that the tannins are integrated and never astringent. Instead, they act like a corset that ties the wine together in all the right places.
The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi rounds out this series of Barbarescos from La Spinetta in grand style. I don't think the Starderi has ever been so elegant or refined as it is in 2015. Medium in body and translucent, the 2015 possesses remarkable purity and nuance in its red-toned fruit and floral aromatics. The oak needs time to fully integrate, but readers should not be planning on opening bottles anytime soon, as the youthful tannins are also imposing. Bright citrus and floral notes add the closing flourishes.
The 2014 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is deep, powerful and intense, as it usually is, with soaring aromatics, bright red stone fruit and huge beams of tannin that give the wine its vertical spine. The tannins are naturally going to need time to soften, but there is plenty to look forward to. The Starderi is the most explosive and searing of these Barbarescos from La Spinetta, but it nevertheless offers considerable appeal. Patience is key.
Following the Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù, the 2014 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù represents a clear step up in terms of intensity and structure. If the Gallina is about elegance and finesse, this wine is about brawn, personality and volume. Again, if we focus on mouthfeel alone, this Barbaresco delivers an etched and firm tannic structure that runs straight down the backbone of this wine. Yet, the wine is also composed and still at this moment in time. You get the feeling that the real action will start a few years from now.
The 2013 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù is an elegant and polished wine with a deep sense of persistence and length. The wine delivers a tight embroidery of aromas that span from dark fruit to spice, to ethereal notes of balsam herb and cola. It runs the full spectrum. That feeling of wholeness and balance is also evident in the mouth. This Barbaresco reaches impeccable balance between its solid fruit flavors, its acidity and the determined firmness of its structure.
La Spinetta fans won't want to miss the 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi, but readers will have to be patient, as the Starderi is going to need time. The only question is how much. Classic bright red fruit notes typical of Starderi are matched by equally characteristic, imposing tannins that need time to soften. Linear, taut and pulsing with energy, the 2013 is full of potential for those who can wait.
Muscular and fully loaded, the 2012 Barbaresco Starderi Vursu delivers a solid and ample bouquet that is built upon generous fruit, spice, licorice and balsam herb. The wine's brawny personality is different from the Barbaresco Valeirano that is more seductive and feminine in personality. Starderi shows brawn and feistiness.
The 2011 Barbaresco Starderi is just as gorgeous today as it was the last time I tasted it, about a year ago. Dark raspberry, plums, cinnamon, wild flowers and rose petals meld together nicely in the glass. The 2011 is deep, pliant and expressive, with lovely depth and plenty of texture. Power and intensity are the signatures of Starderi, but in this vintage the wines leans more towards the weightless end of the spectrum.
Dark in color and rich in appearance, the 2011 Basbaresco Starderi Vursu is another gorgeous rendition in the La Spinetta Vursu line. Vursu is locale dialect for something that is "greatly desired". And great desire is something you definitely feel when faced with a glass of this stuning wine. This is a rich and sturdy, but beautifully balanced expression that does not hold back in terms of intensity or opulence. Yet the wine never goes overboard. Giorgio Rivetti has produced fantastic results in the 2011 vintage.
The 2010 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is born in a vineyard that sits at 330 meters above sea level. Giorgio tells me that the challenge here is crafting a wine with both elegance and power. Thanks to ideal growing conditions in 2010, he has succeeded at his task. Firm strucuture is supported by fleshy fruit tones and elegantly integrated spice. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030. Giorgio Rivetti has unveiled a stuning line of new wines, and a few surprises as well, from his impecable winery and tasting room at the foot of the Grinzane Cavour castle. The line of Riserva Barbarescos and Riserva Barolo will only be bottled in magnums in the best vintages. The year 2004 is the inaugural vintage of these special releases. Giorgio purchased a beautiful estate in the Grinzane Cavour estate for making Barolo. His vineyard graces a dome-shaped hill and is planted with 55- to 60-year- old Nebbiolo vines.
Medium red with a trace of amber at the edge. Sour cherry, minerals and an exotic whiff of peach on the reticent nose; smells denser and darker than the Starderi. Lush but closed in the mouth, with energetic minerality framing the dark berry flavors. The very long, lively finish coats the teeth with fine-grained tannins. Impressive. - Stephen Tanzer
La Spinetta’s 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is bursting with energy, even if it doesn’t quite have the sheer richness or pure depth of the very best vintages. Still, the Starderi is a hugely appealing wine that only needs time to shed some tannin. Raspberry jam, flowers, mint and cloves are followed by darker, more brooding aromas and flavors. As always, the Starderi is the richest and most imposing of the Spinetta Barbareschi. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. - Antonio Galloni
Fresh and aromatic, exhibiting floral, berry, eucalyptus and spice flavors before the tough tannins take over. Powerful and muscular, this closes down on the finish. The most backward of the three Barbaresco crus, and the one that offers the most potential. Best from 2016 through 2028.
"The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is the biggest, most powerful and also most complete of the 2008 Barbarescos here, but it will require considerable patience. Huge, massive tannins provide the backdrop to a core of expressive dark fruit, flowers, mint and licorice. This is a virile Barbaresco with plenty of stuffing to age well, but it needs time for the tannins to soften. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026."
Good full red. Plum, menthol and minerals on the nose, complicated by marzipan and a medicinal quality. Fuller but less expressive than the Gallina, showing less fruit today. I don't find the same mid-palate energy as in the 2009 version but Rivetti says this wine is actually higher in acidity. And it has more stuffing to support its serious tannins than the Gallina. Very imploded today and in need of several years of cellaring.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi bursts from the glass with red berries, sweet spices, roses and mint, all of which come together on a powerful, richly structured frame that is the hallmark of Barbareschi from Neive. The Starderi is the most tannic of the estate’s 2007s but it is a wine with significant promise and a long road ahead of very fine drinking. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. - Antonio Galloni
A big-boned Barbaresco, this is a bit gangly at first, settling into raspberry, cherry, floral and a hint of tar flavors. Muscular and tannic, contradicting the notion that Barbaresco is lighter than Barolo. Fine length and ripe tannins. Best from 2013 through 2026.
Good medium red. More carnal animal and truffle aromas complicated by dark spices; rather full-blown in the way of the 2006 Valeirano. The biggest of these 2007s but still quite young, even closed, today. Offers impressive depth and sweetness but I don't find as much perfume or apparent acidity as in the 2007 Valeirano. This wine has a serious tannic spine and will need time. - Stephen Tanzer
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi bursts from the glass with red berries, sweet spices, roses and mint, all of which come together on a powerful, richly structured frame that is the hallmark of Barbareschi from Neive. The Starderi is the most tannic of the estate’s 2007s but it is a wine with significant promise and a long road ahead of very fine drinking. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. - Antonio Galloni
Good full medium red. Pure, vibrant nose features cherry and minerals. Silky on entry, then minerally and perfumed in the middle, with firm acids and serious ripe tannins giving it sound structural support. This really saturates the palate and teeth. Very suave and concentrated Barbaresco. - Stephen Tanzer
The 2006 Barbaresco Starderi is easily the best of these three offerings, as the wine’s balance is exceptional. Aromatics, fruit and structure are all woven together in an impressive display of power and elegance. The fruit retains the house’s characteristic super-ripe style, but that element is more finely tuned here than in the estate’s other Barbarescos. Simply put, the 2006 is another terrific Starderi from proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and his team. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2024.
(from Rivetti's oldest Barbaresco vines, at 50 to 55 years of age) Good medium-deep red. Reticent but pure aromas of red fruits, marzipan and menthol, plus a suggestion of grapefruit. Then large-scaled and sweeter than the nose would suggest, with a flavor of red fruit syrup lifted by a repeating suggestion of citrus peel and complemented by nicely integrated oak. Finishes very long and sweet, with broad, fine tannins and exceptional mouth coverage.
The 2005 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi offers up an attractive core of bright, candied red fruit, roses and spicies. Today it comes across as quite vibrant and fresh, suggesting a minimum of several years of cellaring are needed before the wine starts drinking at its finest. The tannins build on the long finish, but they are also beautifully balanced. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015. Giorgio Rivetti has another set of very solid wines on his hands wth his 2005 Barbarescos. The wines have always shown terrific balance and are just a notch or two below his 2004s.
The 2004 Barbaresco Starderi is a knock-out effort. A dark, brrooding wine it reveals an aary of dark cherries, spices, tar and smoke in a powerful, sinewy style. With each passing moment, it seemingly turns more and more classic in the glass, with only the super-ripe fruit serving as a reminder that this is a more contemporary wine. The balance and use of oak are both masterful. It is easly the finest wine Giorgio Rivetti has ever made, and is also the first wine in the estate's history that can truly challange for a spot in the top echelon of the zone. Anticipate maturity: 2009-2019. this is very strong set of releases from La Spinetta and propietor Giorgio Rivetti. The 2004 Barbarescos are easily the best of his career. The wines still see 100% new Frech oak, toast levels have been reduced and the Barbarescos now spend 12 months in oak rather than the 18 months they saw in previous vintages. Both changes have had a rmarkably positive effect in allowing more site-specific character and Nebbiolo fruit to come through. The 2003 Barolo Campe shows that Rivetti is making important strides with this wine as well. Only the 2005 Barberas are disappointing, but that is not entirely surprising given the uneven growing season. In the past La Spinetta was an estate that relied just as much on style a substance. The 2004 Barbarescos, and specially the Starderi, are the first wines that truly live up to the glamorous image that Giorgio Rivetti has masterfully succeeded in creating.
(from a vineyard in Neive) Deep red. Rather elegant nose offers strawberry, raspberry, tobacco, truffle, smoked meat and dried rose. Lush, full and rich but harmonious acidity and a minty nuance leaving the wine's thickness. There's a sweet strawberry flavor here but also serious structure and big tannins, giving a suggestion of youthful austerity. An impressive bomb of a Barbaresco: I'd drink the Gallina first and hold this for a five or six years.
As is general the case, I find the Starderi to be most convincing of the estate's Barbarescos and the 2003 is not exception. It is the ripest and sweetest of the wines, showing generous nuances of licorice, toasted oak, menthol and macerated cherries on a broad, full-bodied frame with terrific length as well as balance. Here the firm tannins are balanced by the wine's greater concentration. Anticipated maturity:2009-2018.
The masculine and brooding 2001 Barbaresco Starderi is unquestionably the most complex and complete of the La Spinetta Barbarescos. The wine is dark and deeply expresissive, with a the palate of dark roasted fruit, tar, spices, licorice and a lingering note of menthol. Despite its size and notable concentration the Standeri appears to be a bit more accesible than the Valeirano at hte moment. This is a modern-style Barbaresco at its best.
The masculine and brooding 2001 Barbaresco Starderi is unquestionably the most complex and complete of the La Spinetta Barbarescos. The wine is dark and deeply expresissive, with a the palate of dark roasted fruit, tar, spices, licorice and a lingering note of menthol. Despite its size and notabe concentration the Starderi appears to be a bit more accessible than the Valeirano at the moment. This is modern style Barbaresco at its best. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2016.
The 2000 Barbaresco Starderi, as in the past, is a potent offering. The intense nose is traditional, with the expressive notes of tar, anisette, and kirsch, and the powerful tarry, mineral flavors are deep and delineated, with an important acceleration and expansion, a rise in the volume and richness form the mid-palate right through to be finish. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020.
The 1998 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi reveals tannin and structure, as well as a restrained, backward bouquet. Dark ruby-colored, round, and full-bodied, with notes of licorice, new oak, and black cherries, it requires 1-2 years of cellaring, and should drink well over the following 10-12 years.
The 1997 Barbaresco-La Spinetta Vigneto Starderi boasts a dark plum/purple color in addition to full body, great fruit, concentration, and power, but it is firm and closed compared to its siblings. Thre is plenty of potential, but this wine needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It should keep for two decades.
The 1996 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi's deep ruby color is followed by an explosive nose of sweet cherry liqueur, vanillin, and wood smoke. This full-bodied, highly-extracted, intense, sexy, moderately tannic wine is powerful yet well-balanced. Despite its ability to improve for 10-15 years, it is easy to drink at present.
Released 10 years after harvest, the Starderi Riserva magnum is once again the best expression of the Starderi vineyard, crafted from carefully tended 40-60-year-old vines. An intense, vibrant red color, beautiful aromas of dried fruit and flowers follow through to reveal dark fruits like blackberry and plum and sweet spices of cloves and vanilla. This is a powerful, rich wine with a full body and chewy tannins and a long, intense finish.
The 2010 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Starderi (Magnum) is a big, big wine. Then again, that is Starderi. The overall impression here is that the oak tannins accentuate rather than soften the natural intensity of the fruit and site. Readers should expect a potent Barbaresco loaded with macerated red cherry fruit, rose petal, spice, licorice and French oak. I don't think 2010 will ever be truly harmonious, at the elite level, as is still a very good wine.
A beautiful expression of Barbaresco by La Spinetta released in magnum 10 years after the harvest. The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi Vürsù (Magnum) opens to a dark garnet color and a well-defined set of aromas. Boasting Nebbiolo purity, darkness and generosity, it reveals rich fruit, dried cherry, ferrous earth, licorice, tar and toasted aniseed. This expression from Starderi in Neive shows an austere and brooding personality with plenty of textural richness and depth. This magnum reveals a wine of careful balance, precision and power.
The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi (magnum) is in a gorgeous spot where it is starting to show he signs of having entered and early plateau of maturity. Even so, it retains formidable tannic clout and tons of intensity. The 2009 appears to have enough fruit to develop well for another 7-10 years.
This carefully evolved Barbaresco shows a finer texture and fiber than you might have expected given its relatively robust construction. You get loads of cola and balsamic herb from the 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi (Magnum) and, of course, not as much primary fruit. This charner of a wine confidently exudes tertiary note of licorice, tar and smoky aromas with every pour. It's a mentholicious and balsamic Barbaresco that I wouldn't be afraid to serve now, at least not for a group of friends who absolutely deserve it. Only 600 magnums exist.
La Spinetta's 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Starderi (magnum) is more overtly unctuous and ripe than the Gallina tasted alongside it. Super-ripe dark cherry, mocha, vanilla sweet spice and licorice infuse the Starderi with tremendous textural richness and intensity. I find the exotic, jammy notes of the 2008 hard to get past, but this style will undoubtedly appeal to readers who enjoy more overtly flamboyant wines.
The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi (Magnum) immediately flaunts the density and important structure that is associated with this celebrated vineyard site. This is an overtly generous and bountiful expression of Nebbiolo that offers thick layers of aromatic intensity. The wine's best assets is the intact and vibrant quality of the primary fruit-so presented now, eleven years after the harvest. This is an expensive bottle for sure, but it does award a delicious and unforgettable experience.
The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Starderi Vürsù (only made in magnums) represents a step up in structure and opulence compared to the Barbaresco Riserva from the Gallina vineyard. The Starderi cru shows more power and muscle with evident brawn and a tight build. The wine never feels heavy and this is an important fact. In fact, the mouthfeel is lively and bright with fresh acidity and tart fruit flavors. This bottling is built to last.
Power and intensity reign in the 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi (magnum). Dark red stone fruits, menthol, cloves, pomegranate and orange peel are all laced together in this decidedly dark, brooding, intense Barbaresco. Next to the Gallina, though, the Starderi is surprisingly a bit more forward, whereas in most vintages, the Gallina is the most precocious of La Spinetta's Barbarescos. -- Antonio Galloni
This wine was tasted in a magnum. The 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Starderi is another stunning expression. This time the bouquet is flatter and broader, delivering round fruit, leather, tar and spice. It shows huge intensity and beauty. In fact, everything about this wine is super-sized: The structure, the plush density it shows in the mouth and the impressively long finish. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2033.
Interestingly, the 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi, from magnum is a bit more forward than the Gallina, which I would not have expected based on how the wines showed when they were young. Sweet tobacco, white truffles and worn-in leather all waft from the glass. The Starderi has plenty of depth in its fruit and relatively soft tannins for such a big wine, but the aromatics are a bit more evolved, all of which suggests the wine is best enjoyed over the next handful of years. Hints of crushed flowers and rose petals linger on the close.
The 2003 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi is the fullest and richest of these Barbarescos. It is a super-lush, ripe wine loaede with dark raspberry, spices, flowers and sweet toasted oak. This perfumed, large-scaled Barbaresco offers notable concentration and depth, with outstanding overall balance. Available only in magnum.
The most potent and deeply-colored of the la Spinetta wines, the 2001 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi is another excelletn effort from this estate. Packed with layers of vibrant super-ripe fruit that coat the palate with notable persistence and depth, as well as expressive aromatics and bold tannins, it is massively endowed Barbaresco that should drink well to age 20.
This is a precise and finely cut Barbaresco, exhibiting the most austere personality of the three La Spinetta Barbaresco wines, typical of this cru in Treiso. The vineyard is quite high for Barbaresco at 450 meters (1,476 feet) above sea level and faces entirely south. The Valeirano is a wine of tremendous energy and intensity with shades of dark cherry, sweet spice, crushed flowers, leather, mint, truffle and tobacco (perfumes reminiscent of Barolo), adding dimension to this already potent wine. Substantial tannins are softened by a touch of sophistication, a wine to watch in the future.
Showing the estate's rhinoceros design with a blue label, the La Spinetta 2020 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù (in a heavy glass bottle) reveals robust aromas of dark fruit, cassis, spice, crushed rose and a heavier fruit note of kirsch or crème de cassis. This is a full-bodied Barbaresco from a hot vintage. It shows rich fruit weight, dusty tannins and good power.
The 2019 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano continues its progression as the most improved of the Spinetta Barbarescos. Dark cherry, plum, spice, menthol, dried herbs, leather, sage and incense fill out the layers effortlessly. The tannins, often quite potent here, are present, they are nicely integrated in the wine's fabric. The Valeirano is the most savory and mineral (and least fruity) of the Spinetta Barbarescos.
Packaged with the distinctive rhinoceros label (in blue), the La Spinetta 2019 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù has some ripeness and softness that is expressed with blackberry, plum and sweet spice. The wine is structured and full-bodied, but it also shows integrated tannins that support the wine in a firm but effortless manner.
Valeirano is located within Treiso, where a similar soil content to that of Serralunga d’Alba lends more structure and depth to the wines. The 2018 Barbaresco Valeirano Versu is expressive with tar, black cherry, and licorice. It has a more powerful structure on the palate that remains finessed and compact. Allow for 3-5 years in cellar and drink 2024-2045.
These 2018 Barbarescos from La Spinetta are just terrific. The 2018 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù completes this line with its fruit from the village of Treiso. This wine is less etched and sharp than the others, and it exhibits a rich and more fleshed-out approach with greater volume. There is plenty of dark fruit and shades of cherry, but a lasting impression is made by spice, licorice and balsam herb.
La Spinetta’s 2017 Barbaresco Valeirano is classy, elegant and polished from start to finish. Freshly cut flowers, mint, sweet red berry fruit and blood orange are some of the many notes that grace this super-expressive, inviting Barbaresco from La Spinetta. In 2017, the Valeirano is more delicate and less hefty than it can be – which is not a bad thing – although there is plenty of its characteristic tannin to carry the wine and give it energy.
The 2017 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù shows increased focused and brighter high notes compared to the other new releases from La Spinetta. The Valeirano cru is located in Treiso and sees 50- to 60-year-old vines planted at 380 meters above sea level, where they benefit from cool nighttime temperatures in the crucial weeks leading up to harvest. The wine is packed tight with black cherry and blackberry with light shadings of cedar, licorice and spice at the back. These wines from 2017 all tend to show extra tannic intensity, although this expression appears the silkiest of them all.
Another wine of importance from La Spinetta, this is a well-structured and compact expression with lots of dark fruit and ripe berries buried within. The 2016 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù, sporting a fittingly hefty rhinoceros depicted on the front of the bottle, is heavier and denser than the others from this line. There are dry and astringent tannins, and like the pachyderm on the label, this wine will live to a ripe old age—if it isn't poached from the cellar beforehand. Some 7,000 bottles were made.
The 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is the most refined wine I have tasted form this side in Treiso. The tannins, always forbidding in Valeirano, are wonderfully polished, and yet convey the essential feeling of structure that is such a central part of what makes Barbaresco so compelling as a wine. Dark wild cherry, incense, graphite, spice and dried flowers add shades of dimension to this virile, potent Barbaresco that captures the essence of this site, but with an added touch of sophistication that is quite welcome. I can't wait to see how the 2016 ages. In a word: Superb!
Distinctive aromas of rose, black currant and raspberry mark this taut, intense red, which is sleek and firmly structured, with lively acidity and dusty tannins mingling with fruit, savory and mineral elements on the long aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2038. 583 cases made, 200 cases imported.
Here is another knock-out Barbaresco from the talented team at La Spinetta. The 2015 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù grows quickly in power and volume as it sits in the glass. That fluid evolution adds to the expansive and generous nature of the bouquet. The wine passes through various phases of fruit, spice and delicate herbal intensity. In the mouth, it remains silky and long in resolve and endurance. Despite the heat of the vintage, this edition boasts beautiful softness and ripeness that is never too heavy.
The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is another striking wine from La Spinetta. Precise and finely cut, the 2015 shows the slightly austere personality that is typical of this cru. Even so, the 2015 possesses tremendous energy and intensity. Sweet spice, crushed flowers, crushed rocks, leather, spice, mint and sweet tobacco grace this exquisite, wonderfully nuanced Barbaresco. The 2015 finishes with real substance and gravitas, both of which bode well for its future in bottle. This may be the most finessed edition of Valeirano ever here.
La Spinetta's 2014 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is a dark, brooding wine. Because of its depth and overall structure, the oak element is less evident here than it is in some of the other wines. Smoke, licorice, tar, spice, black cherry and rose petal gradually emerge from a wall of firm, imposing tannins. Readers will have to be patient with the 2014, but it is a striking wine in the making. As is often the case, the Valeirano has a distinctive element of austerity and nerve.
From the Treiso township, the 2014 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù represents a stylistic marriage of the elegant Gallina and the more powerful Starderi crus (both in the Neive township). This is a compact and fine Nebbiolo with a mid-weight style and slightly sweet tannins. In terms of its flavor profile, the wine shows savory spice and barbecue smoke followed by blackberry and dried cherry. In a sense, this wine borrows the best attributes of the other two Barbaresco expressions also reviewed in this report.
The 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is a powerhouse. Tannic, rough around the edges and virile in its expression, the 2013 is going to need at least few years in bottle to shed some of its tannin. The flavors are deep and boldly sketched, with the acidity of the vintage and the incisive Treiso tannins adding brightness throughout. Sweet dark cherries, cinnamon, new leather and menthol meld into the powerful, tannic finish.
Dark red cherries, spices, menthol, anise and mint are some of the signatures in La Spinetta 2012 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano. The aromatics are piercing, while the typically vibrant Valeirano tannins give the wine its sense of energy and proportion. Sinewy and persistent, with lovely freshness for the year, the Valeirano is another strong wine from La Spinetta. As always, the Valeirano is the most austere of the Spinetta Barbarescos. In 2012, that actually helps give the wine an extra kick of freshness.
The spectator 2012 Barbaresco Valeirano Vursu is bursting with vibrant fruit and a lingering sense of elegance. The ine opens to a medium garnet color and focused precision. The aromas are not as intense as in other vintages, but this Barbaresco certainly leaves its aromatic mark nonetheless. La Spinetta's wines are never muted or subtle. They always seem to travel in fifth gear and that's what makes them so irresistible.
A distinctive mix of eucalyptus, rosemary, sage, wild cherry, floral, tar and underbrush aromas and flavors mark this complex, silky Barbaresco. The nervy tannins offer a sinewy edge. Needs air to reveal all of its charms, so decant now or cellar. Best from 2018 through 2027.
The 2011 barbaresco Valeirano Vursu is a stunning wine that shows the best side of this warm vintage. The wine maintains its elegance and its grace, but it also shows a riper side with blackberry, dried cherry, resin, licorice and atr. The ensemble is compelling and very attractive. The wine tastes very young at this stage, but it already exhibits the potential for an interesting evolution ahead. Dig deep and distinct aromas of tobacco, tar and balsam herb begin to appear. La Spinetta is a meticulous and detail-minded estate. That care is most certainly on display here. I had the opportunity to send some time with Giorgio Rivetti this year at the Campe winery just outside the Ginzane Cavour castle. This gave me the opportunity to taste his fabulous 2005 Riservas from magnum (that will be released later this year in September) and a chance to catch up on some back vintages. La Spinetta is synonymous with one of the most distinctive winemaking styles in the Langhe. The wines are easily identifiable in a blind tastnig because, across the board, they offer a uniquely intense aromatic delivery. The bouquetes on the 2013 wines are deeply fragant and fruity; the 2012 vintage is more integrated with spice and tobacco. The 2011 vintage is marked with profound balsam notes of cola, mint and medicinal herbs. These are extremely personalized wines.
La Spinetta's Barbaresco Valierano has come together beautifully over the last year. Deeply spiced and aromatic, the 2011 has begun to flesh out as the tannins have softened. Still, it is to soon for the Valeirano to deliver all it has. Today, the French oak remains dominant, which makes me think the wine may not have enough stuffing to balance things out. Time will tell.
Fruit for the 2010 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is harvested at 45o meters above sea level in the Neive township. These conditions shape a radically different character. This wine is precise and sharp with finely etched tones of spice, dark berry and wet earth. The overall structure and power of the wine is super elegant and immediate. You can safely put this bottle away for years. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2035. Giorgio Rivetti has unveiled a stunning line of the new wines, and a few surprises as well, from his impeccable winery and tasting room at the foot of the Grinzane Cavour castle. The line of Riserva Barbarescos and Riserva Barolo will only be bottled in magnums in the best vintages. The year 2004 is the inaugural vintage of these special releases. Giorgio purchased a beautiful estate in the Grinzane Cavour estate for making Barolo. His vineyard graces a dome-shape hill and is planted with 55- to 60-year old Nebbiolo vines.
Mint, rose petals, sweet red berries and cinnamon are some of the many notes that emerge from the 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano. Unlike the Gallina, there isn’t a whole lot of early appeal here, rather the Valeirano is a wine built on a serious core of strucuture and linearity. With time in the glass, the wine's exotic inner sweetness emerges somewhat, but the tannins are always present. Readers should give the 2009 at least another few years in the bottle.
Mint, rose petals, sweet red berries and cinnamon are some of the many notes that emerge from the 2009 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano. Unlike the Gallina, there isn’t a whole lot of early appeal here, rather the Valeirano is a wine built on a serious core of structure and linearity. With time in the glass, the wine’s exotic inner sweetness emerges somewhat, but the tannins are always present. Readers should give the 2009 at least another few years in bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.
Good full red. Ripe strawberry and rose petal on the perfumed, slightly liqueur-like nose, with a peachy nuance emerging with aeration. Plush, sweet and vibrant, with terrific sappy energy to the flavors of red fruits and spices. Finishes perfumed and very long, with the sweetest tannins of this set of 2008 Barbarescos. This is at another level of quality.
The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano comes across as quite clenched and austere, which it always is, to some degree. It possesses plenty of energy and power, just not enough depth to balance its French oak. The finish is big, massive and tannic. If this fills out, it will merit a higher score down the road. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano, on the other hand, is the most clenched and unexpressive of these 2007 Barbareschi. The Valeirano emerges from the glass with red berries, minerals, French oak and menthol. It is a surprisingly austere wine for 2007 and I am not sure it has the sheer density in its fruit to stand up to the French oak. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2027.
The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano, on the other hand, is the most clenched and unexpressive of these 2007 Barbareschi. The Valeirano emerges from the glass with red berries, minerals, French oak and menthol. It is a surprisingly austere wine for 2007 and I am not sure it has the sheer density in its fruit to stand up to the French oak. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2027.
The 2006 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is another exuberant wine. Here, too, the aromatics literally jump out of the glass, as layers of perfumed super-ripe fruit are intermingled with a persistent vein of minerality. The powerful, focused Valeirano offers outstanding balance, but needs a few years in bottle for the tannins to melt away. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2021. - Antonio Galloni
Good medium red. Wild aromas of truffle, smoke, underbrush, spices and cigar box. Then fat and lush in the mouth, showing the exotic side of the vintage. This silky Barbaresco has the sex appeal to be enjoyed early. Finishes with ripe, building tannins. Conveys a rather high-pH feel, and indeed Rivetti notes that pHs are generally higher in his 2006 Barbarescos than in the 2007s. - Stephen Tanzer
The 2005 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano opens with a huge, brooding nose of smoke, tar, and scorched earth. This massive, building wine changes constantly in the glass, as black cherries, wild herbs, menthol and licorice gradually take center stage. Despite its large-scaled personality, the wine possesses tons of harmony. Sweet notes of menthol and tar linger on the long finish. This explosive Barbaresco is impressive for the way it marries power to elegance in 2005. - Antonio Galloni
The 2005 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano opens with a huge, brooding nose of smoke, tar, and scorched earth. This massive, building wine changes constantly in the glass, as black cherries, wild herbs, menthol and licorice gradually take center stage. Despite its large-scaled personality, the wine possesses tons of harmony. Sweet notes of menthol and tar linger on the long finish. This explosive Barbaresco is impressive for the way it marries power to elegance in 2005. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.
The 2004 Barbaresco Valeirano is even better than the Gallina. Made in a fresher, more structured style than the Gallina. It is a gorgeous, poised wine with ripe fruit, menthol, spices, truffles and a sweet toasted oak notes. Still backward, it is the most structured of these 2004 Barbarescos, and will require patience. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2018. This is a veru strong set of releases from La Spinetta and propietor Giorgio Rivetti. The 2044 Barbarescos are easily the best of his career. The wines still see 100% new French oak, but toasts levels have been reduced and the Barbarescos now spend 12 months in the oak rather than the 18 months they saw in prevous vintages. Both changes have had a remarkable positive effect in the allowing more site-specific character and Nebbiolo fruit to come through. The 2003 Barolo Campe shows that Rivetti is making important strides with this wine as well. Only the 2005 Barberas are disappointing but that is not entirely surprising given the uneven growing season. In the past La Spinetta was an estate that relied just as much on style as substance. The 2004 Barbarescos, and specially the Starderi, are the first wines that truly live up to the glamorous image that Giorgio Rivetti has materfully succeeded in creating.
Good full red, a bit less fresh than the Starderi. Slightly roasted aromas of wild strawberry, game, truffle and brown spices. Fat, round and sweet, with distinctly carnal truffle and game characther. Not quite as delineated as the Gallina but there's still very good life to the plump flavors. Finishes with big, ripe tannins and some apparent oak.
The 2001 Barbaresco Valeirano is convincing in its overall balance. Massively rich, offers penetrating aroma of truffles, minerals, vanilla, tar and mint. On the palate it is dense and chewy with generous amounts of dark, backward fruit and a long, fresh finish puntuated by the exuberant, youthful tannins. It is the most austere of the three La Spinetta Barbarescos . Anticipated maturity: 2007-2013.
Sensational, but structured is the 1997 Barbaresco- La Spinetta Valeirano. This wine exhibits licorice, glycerin and berry fruit along with exotic spices, leather, smoke, and herbs. Spicy and full-bodied, with obvious tannin, structure, and muscle, it requires 2-3 years of cellaring, and shuold keep for 15-20.
The Riserva Valeriano magnum is a result of the utmost attention to the best grapes in the Valeriano vineyard, released after 10 years in the La Spinetta cellar. Though often considered the more austere of the Barbaresco vineyards, this wine displays a beautiful purity of fruit with ripe strawberries, citrus, and flowers, laced with aromas of herbs and spice. Full-bodied with a striking tannic backbone and beautiful concentration that lasts for minutes. The wine’s gorgeous freshness and vibrancy is maintained thanks to the time spent in magnum.
The 2012 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Valeirano (Magnum) is another wine that has aged well. Dark fruit, leather, menthol, mocha, licorice, tobacco and smoke convey plenty of intensity. All things considered, the 2012 is terrific. It's also a fine example of this sector in Treiso, a place where the wines are often bruisers.
The 2010 Riserva Vigneto Valeirano (Magnum) is anothe rich, heady wine in this collection of 2010 Riserva releases from La Spinetta. Everything is dialed up in the Valeirano, a wine that offers tons of dense, dark fruit and plenty of power too. Tannins are imposing, but there is good depth to the fruit as well. Black cherry, plum, gravel, licorice, leather, cloves and new French oak build into the strapping finish.
Made only in magnum and released 10 years after the harvest, La Spinetta's 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano Vürsù (Magnum) ushers forth an amazing experience based on dark fruit, spice, smoke, balsam herb and grilled rosemary. The wine has moved forward along its aging trajectory but slowly and surely, revealing carefully measured evolution on the one hand and primary intensity on the other. You feel those 10 years of Nebbiolo-aging in the mouth, where silky tannins meet a mid-weight feel with good richness and concentration.
The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano (magnum) is a powerful, tannic wine. White truffle, spice, leather, cedar, and sweet pipe tobacco lend striking aromatic nuance. The 2009 has aged very nicely. My only concern for the future is that it remains rather taut and that the fruit will at some point start to dry out.
Tasted from the magnum, the 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano (Magnum) offers a lot of depth and penetration, with profound aromas of black fruit, cherry, dried herb and so much more. This is a dark and concentrated Barbaresco with background notes of barbecue spice, leather, tar, tobacco and ripe dark fruit. You'll get plenty of cola and balsam herb on the close. This result is no surprise. It is another beauty of a Riserva Valeirano and another soul-penetrating expresion not to be missed. Only 600 magnums were made.
This wine represents a crowning achievement among an elite group of magnum-only delayed releases. The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano (Magnum) is nothing short of magnificent. It is intense and articulate in ways you don't expect. Specifically, I am referring to the vibrant and dazzling quality of fruit that is traveling full speed ahead. Nothing about this wine has slowed down. In fact, I would epect this beautiful interpretation to pick up further speed and complexity as it continues its evolution. This wine is old but also new, sweet but also savory and powerful but also elegant. It is a wine of profound contrast that find impeccable unity despite those inherent contradictions. Congratulatiosn to La Spinetta.
At 400 meters above sea level, the Valeirano vineyard is La Spinetta's highest in elevation. The site is characterized by sandy soils with many stones mixed within. The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Valeirano Vürsù almost feels like a Barolo from the Serralunga d'Alba township thanks to the enormous power, determination and richness it so lavishly displays. The bouquet opens to deep, dark fruit aroma of plum, blackberry and black currant. Those aromas are followed by molasses, barbecue spice, tar and balsam herb. Up until the 2004 vintage, they have started aging a portion of the wine in neutral oak to bring out the elegance of the grape. This series of Riserva in magnum was only skipped once in the difficult 2002 vintage.
The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano (magnum) is the most evolved of the three Barbarescos. Worn-in leather, smoke, incense, dried fruit and herbs are all laced together in the glass. The 2005 has plenty of palate intensity, but the aromatics are evolving at a faster pace than the tannins are softening. Ideally the 2005 Riserva is enjoyed sooner rather than later.
The wine was tasted in a magnum. The 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Vigneto Valeirano is my favorite wine of the bunch. Those delicate tones of dried ginger, white truffle, pressed flower and rose petal are gorgeous on every concentrate level. The wine is dark, ethereal and brooding. Never still, it displays a quick succession of evolutionary phases even after a few minutes in the glass. I wouldn't even think of touching this bottle for another ten years. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035.
The 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano, from magnum, smells like walking into a room full of white truffles. Not bad. Like the Starderi, the Valeirano has maintained gorgeous freshness in the big bottle, with plenty of vibrancy, especially on the palate. The aromatics are a bit moe forward than the expression of fruit, so I would prefer to drink the 2004 sooner rather than later, before that gap becomes more apparent. Worn-in leather, tobacco, smoke and licorice all flesh out on the pliant, expressive finish.
The estate's 2001 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano is a fully-structured wine, with plenty of stuffing to fill its ample frame. Displaying superior concentration, depth and length in its super-ripe fruit, tar, licorice, truffle and mineral nuance, it is an engaging Barbaresco that marries modern flavors with a somewhat austere, classic personality. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2017.
The estate's 2001 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano is a more fully-structured wine, with plenty of stuffing to fill its ampler frame. Displaying superior concentration, depth and lengh in its super-ripe fruit, tar, licorice, truffle and mineral nuances, it is an engaging Barbaresco that marries modern flavors with a somewhat austere, classic personality.
The Barbazzale Etna Rosso is based predominantly on the indigenous Sicilian grape Nerello Mascalese, a dark-skinned variety that grows most commonly on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna. This highly regarded variety tends to produce wines that reflect their surroundings, resulting in firm, fresh reds with fruity, herbaceous flavors, excellent minerality and an earthy nuance and an elegance and finesse often compared to that of Pinot Noir. Nerello Cappuccio completes the Etna Rosso blend (as is typical of Etna Rosso DOC wines) lending color and perfume, as well as softening out some of Nerello Mascalese's harder edges. On the nose, the wine entices with aromas of raspberries, blackberries and wildflowers entwined with a touch of minerality. The palate is fresh and aromatic, balanced by good tannins.
The 2019 Etna Rosso Barbazzale keeps you coming back to the glass with a woodland-inspired display of wild berries, lavender, wet stone and undergrowth. It’s soft-textured and fleshy in feel, maintaining balance through a pure display of fresh strawberries laced with sweet spice and florals. Round tannins frame the expression nicely as the Barbazzale tapers off to a dusting of violet candies. This blend of 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio is easy to like, showing quite well today, and it is a fantastic bargain.
Healthy ruby-red. Red plum, licorice and an herbal nuance on the nose. Bright and crisp in the mouth, showing sneaky intensity to the red berry and mineral flavors. Harmonious acidity extends the flavors at the back. Made in the usually bright style of Barbazzale Rosso, this wine finishes with fine-grained tannins and subtle persistence if not mind-boggling complexity. An easygoing everyday table wine with considerable early appeal.
The 2007 Etna Rosso is a gorgeous wine that captures the magic of the Etna. Layers of sweet dark cherries, licorice, menthol and leather flow gracefully from this elegant, beautifully delineated red. There is a clarity and purity to the fruit that is quite striking. Hints of tar and smoke add the final layers of complexity on the finish.
This gorgeous Barbera comes from the small (10 acres) south-facing Gallina vineyard in Neive. This is a supple, dense and racy wine, with no hard edges and tons of concentration. Generous aromas of dark raspberry jam, blueberry, mocha, shaved dark chocolate, spice and new leather fill out nicely in a creamy, generous Barbera that expresses the natural, almost feminine, silkiness and character that make this wine so unique.
The 2017 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is sleek, elegant and delicious. Black cherry, plum, licorice, spice and blackberry jam fill out the layers nicely. The 2017 is dark and voluptuous, but also shows a bit less heft than some recent years, a development that is quite positive, in my view, that will be more evident in more favorable vintages. Pretty floral accents round out the finish.
The 2017 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is darkly saturated and rich with an abundant display of black cherry, plum and blackberry. The wine shows broad shoulders but carries its fruit weight with considerable balance and poise. You could pair this wine with barbecued red meat or pulled pork.
The 2016 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is a very beautiful wine. In 2016, the Gallina has all the fruit richness and intensity it always has, with an extra kick of richness that brings an extra dimention of verticality and energy. Raspberry jam, spice., menthol and licorice all develop in the glass in this impeccably rendered, totally alluring Barbera from one of the top sites in Barbaresco.
From a two-hectare plot in the Gallina cru in Neive with south-facing exposures. The 2016 Barbera d'Alba Gallina (with 7,000 bottles produced) shows great focus and sharpness with bright cherry and blackberry fruit followed by spice, tilled earth and sweet barbecue smoke. This Barbera from Alba offers more linearity and directness compared to the other two expressions of the grape from the Asti area, where you feel the acidic crispness of the grape.
Another gorgeous wine, the 2015 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is supple, dense and racy, with no hard edges and tons of concentration. Dark raspberry jam, mocha, spice and new leather fill out nicely in a creamy, supple Barbera that expresses all of the natural silkiness and resonance that make this wine so unique.
Barbera is planted in the middle section of the celebrated Gallina cru in Neive. The rest of this vineyard is planted to Nebbiolo to make Barbaresco Gallina. Counterintuitively, La Spinetta left that strip of Barbera grapes intact because they wanted to preserve tradition. Others would have probably replaced it with the more lucrative Nebbiolo variety. The 2014 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is made from old vines evidently happy to stay exactly where they are at the moment. Despite the difficulties of the vintage, this wine oozes forth with dark intensity, a velvety structure and exuberant fruit aromas. Smokey mineral dustings also appear.
Just bottled, the 2013 Barbera d'Alba Gallina exudes richness and intensity. Blueberry jam, mocha, crème de cassis and bittersweet chocolate wrap around the palate. Unctuous, super-ripe and concentrated, the 2013 is decidedly flamboyant, with the suave tannins and supleness that are such a signature of this wine. At times, the Gallina is a bit heavy, but it is otherwise tasty.
A tense, tightly coiled wine, the 2010 Barbera d'Alba Gallina impresses for its energy, drive and class. Graphite, tar, smoke and licorice flow through to the powerful, vibrant finish. The Gallina is usually pretty soften and round, but not in 2010. A blast of tar, smoke and incense hits the palate on the finish.
The 2009 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is rich, powerful and direct. I am surprised by the wine's huge structure, as I expected a softer Barbera given the vintage and site. Plums, mocha, licorice and grilled herbs all flesh out in the powerful, incisive Barbera. With time in the glass, the wine turns increasingly floral and delicate, yet never loses its essential depth. Readers will need to be patient, but there is no denying the 2009 is shaping up to be a wonderful bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
The 2008 Barbera d'Alba Gallina shows the suppleness and richness of this great vineyard in Neive. Here the fruit is warm, open and expressive, quite a contrast to its sibling, the Barbera Bionzo, which is made forma site in Asti. The Gallina flows effortlessly with sweet ripe blackberries, flowers, spices, herbs, licorice and leather, but it is the wine's textural elegance and silkness I admire most. This is a beautiful, understated Barbera from La Spinetta. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018. This is a superb set of wines form Giorgio Rivetti. The 2008 Barbareschi are among the strongest wines of the year, while the 2007 Barolo Campe is the best wine to emerge from Rivetti's vineyard in Grinzane Cavour. The La Spinetta style focusing on wines of great textural richness remains intact, but is dialed in to a greater degree with each passing vintage.
The 2007 Barbera d'Alba Gallina emerges from the glass with a gorgeous array of violets, tar, smke, minerals, plums and spices. This is a beautiful delineated Barbera with gorgeous freshness and clarity that carries though to the refined finish. Some of the weight of past vintages seems missing as the 2007 is built more on finesse rather than sheer power alone. The wine continues to grow in the glass, revealing plenty of minerality and long, pure finish. It is a terrific effort form La Spinetta. The Gallina spent 16-18 months in the French oak prior to being bottled. Anicipated maturity: 2011-2017. This is a highly successful set of new releases from La Spinetta. The winesshowgreat balance and class across the board.
The estate's 2005 Barbera d'Alba Gallina reveals a dark, purplish color. It is a sweet, well-delineated wine with layers of ripe dark fruit, violets minerals, smoke, plums and asphalt. In 2005 the Gallina is a more slender, smaller-scalated wine than is normally the case. Of Rivetti's top Barberas I usually prefer the Bionzo, but in 2005 it is the Gallina which offers greater complexity and harmony. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2010. This a very strong set of releases from La Spinetta and proprietor Giorgio Rivetti. The 2004 Barbarescos are easily the best of his career. The wines still see 100% new Frech oak, but toast levels have been reduced and the Barbarescos now spend 12 months in oak rather than 18 months they saw in previous vintages.Both changes have had a remarkably positive effect in allowing more site-specific character and Nebbiolo fruit to come through. The 2003 Barolo Campe shows that Rivetti is making important strides with this wine as well. Only the 2005 Barberas are disappointing season. In the past La Spinetta was an estate that relied just as much on style as substance. The 2004 Barbarescos, and specially the Starderi, are the first wines that trully live up to the glamorous image that Giorgio Rivetti has masterfully succeeded in creating.
(these vines are now about 40 years old) Black ruby. Deeply pitched aromas of cassis, blackberry, smoke and dark chocolate. Large-scaled, fat and chewy; a broad, rich barbera that's distinctly rounder and more approachable than the Bionzo. Finishes with soft but serious tannins. I'd like to put this in a blind fights of California cabernets!.
The 2001 Barbera d'Alba Gallina, a full, dark ruby, is very spicy, with cloves and cedar intermingled with the plum and blackberry fruit. Very warm and generous on the palate (14.5?). It’s sweet fruit and luscious textured are kept fresh by the acidity and the minerals notes of the close. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2009.
The 2000 Barbera d'Alba Gallina was aged 16-18 months in new French oak. It offers an explosive bouquet of tobacco, sweet black fruits, licorice, and earth. Full-bodied, intense, and velvety- testured, with great palated presence. It should be consumed over the next 5-6 years to take advantaged of its exuberant.
The 1999 Barbera d'Alba Gallina is awesome! I am not sure it will get any better since Barbera is not one of the most noble varietals in terms of complexity and intensity. It does, however, offer glorious levels of concentration as well as a huge nose of smoked meats, blackberry, cherry, and strawberry jam with licorice, new oak, and barbecue spice. Viscous, remarkably dense ans sexy. It is impossible to resist. For drinking now and over the next 4-5 years, this is as profound a dry red wine as readers will find.
The opaque purple-colored 1998 Barbera d'Alba Gallina ( a top Barbaresco vineyard outside Neive) was aged in 100% new oak. It offers a glorious perfumed of chocolate, cedar, blackberries, cherry liqueur and smoke. This massive yet well-balanced, layered wine is explosive. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.
The 1997 Barbera d'Alba Gallina may be one of the finest Barberas ever produced in Italy. Opaque purple-colored, with soaring aromatics, huge density and richness, a voluptuous texture, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute, this mid-boggling effort should age gloriously for a decade or more.
The terrific, formidably-endowed, gorgeous pure, full-bodied 1996 Barbera d'Alba Gallina has soaked up its new oak beautifully. It possesses such phenomenal layers of concentrate black fruits, full body, and amazing glycerin and depth that it must be tasted to be believed.
Of Piedmont’s three principal red grape varieties, Barbera is the most representative of the region, producing a medium-bodied wine that is enjoyable young, but can also age quite well for a few years. This Barbera d’Alba spends more than a year in oak barrels, granting it the “Superiore” designation and making for a more expressive wine. An intense ruby red with violet reflections, red fruits with a hint of spice come through on the nose. A full, round palate is supported by the marked acidity typical of this variety, imparting freshness and a harmonious finish.
A deeper, more opaque hue, the 2021 Barbera D'Alba Superiore offers notes of graphite, lavender, and plum. It is medium to full-bodied but doesn't feel weighted and has fresh acidity and sweet tannins. Its notes of berries and fresh herbs last long on a clean finish. Drink over the next 5-8 years.
The 2017 Barbera d'Alba Superiore is a heady, exotic wine, Inky and deep in the glass, the Superiore captures all of the natural richness of this dry, warm year in its dark flavor profile and concentrated fel. Althought not at all subtle, the 2017 packs a real puch. Inky fruit, chocolate, leather, spice and menthol are all amped up in this decidedly flamboyant Barbera.
Many vintners have affirmed that 2016 is not an ideal vintage for Barbera. Evidently, Chiara Boschis never got the memo. She has crafted a lovely expression that boasts varietal richness and softness. The 2016 Barbera d'Alba Superiore starts off with subtle and careful intensity. But as it takes on greater momentum in the glass, you begin to recognize dark fruit, etched mineral and black olive. The finish is polished and crisp. This Barbera reveals significant depth and lasting persistence.
The 2016 Barbera d'Alba Superiore is dense, voluptuous and full of appeal. A rush of black cherry, plum, lavender, menthol, licorice and spice build in a plush, explosive wine that shows just how compellingly delicious top-flight Barbera can be. I really love the balance here. And, of course, the 2016 is a pure pleasure to taste.
The 2015 Barbera d'Alba Superiore sees fruit sourced from various vineyard sites. Barbera is planted on the lower parts of the same vineyard parcels that produce the estate's best Nebbiolo. The wine undergoes a light and non-intrusive winemaking approach with one year of neutral oak. The results are extremely polished, clean and generous. Dark fruit, plum and spice appear on the finish.
Though the Barbera grape from Asti usually tends to be crisper and sharper (when compared to the Barbera grape from Alba), the Ca’ di Pian exudes a rich concentration and relatively tame acidity, thanks to 45-year-old vines and low vineyard yields. Aromas of blueberry, wet earth and a hint of orange peel come through, and this Barbera’s full body and intensity are balanced by a silky smooth finish, combining richness with finesse.
The La Spinetta 2019 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Ca' di Pian is dark, ripe and very concentrated. The wine offers lifted aromas of black and purple fruits with crushed stone or chalk at the back. The acidity is, of course, very present. There is a point of candied cherry sweetness that rides high on the bouquet. This is a solid food wine.
The 2018 Barbera d'Asti Ca' di Pian is plump, juicy and absolutely delicious. Dark cherry, plum, spice and chocolate are all kicked up in this succulent, open-knit Barbera from La Spinetta. Drink it over the next handful of years. As always, the Ca' di Pian overdelivers for the money.
La Spinetta's 2016 Barbera d'Asti Ca di Pian is soft, plummy and very tasty. I would prefer to drink it over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. Red and purplish berry fruit with a touch of spice is nicely pushed forward by bright acids. The 2016 is absolutely delicious, especially with a little aeration.
The Barbera grape from Asti tends to show crisper lines and sharper acidity when compared to the Barbera grape from Alba. However, this interpretation is more difficult to peg down. The 2014 Barbera d'Asti Ca' di Pian is a mid-weight effort with a dark appearance and rich concentration. Fruit comes from 45-year-old vines so that richness comes naturally. Yields were farmed low, and the wine's acidity has been greatly tamed as a result. This was a bad vintage for Barbera, but you would never know it, thanks to the high quality presented in this wine.
A tasty, entry-level wine, the 2013 Barbera d'Asti Ca' di Pian is juicy and flamboyant from the very first taste. Blackberry jam, crème de cassis, chocolate, violets, lavender and sweet spice meld together in a deep, unctuous wine to drink now and over the next few years. This is a screaming value from La Spinetta.
The Bionzo is a big, concentrated, dense Barbera produced from old vines in Costigliole d’Asti. Nearly 18 months in oak (plus six in stainless steel and bottle), delivers an incredibly rich, structured wine with a plethora of perfumes including black cherry, cassis, gravel, smoke, chocolate, liquorice and menthol. Broad and silky with an incredibly depth of flavor, the characteristic richness of the Bionzo complements its acidity, finishing with smooth, slightly oaky tannins and a whole range of dark spices. This isn’t your average Barbera, this is a wine that will continue to evolve for 20-25 years.
A very different product compared to the Barbera d'Asti Superiore Ca' di Pian, the 2018 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo shows dark and mature fruit with more oak, spice and softness. The fruit is concentrated and bold, showing broad-brush intensity with blackberry, plum and a pop of fresh acidity.
The 2017 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is laced with the essence of blackberry jam, gravel, smoke, crushed rocks and menthol. This potent, structured Barbera from Asti needs a few years to unwind, but it is impressive. Like the Gallina, the Bionzo shows a transition to a style that is a bit less overt than in the past, but without sacrificing the intensity La Spinetta fans have come to expect. I would give the tannins a few years to soften.
Packed tight with black fruit and dried blackberry, the 2017 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is an inky and darkly concentrated expression that brings on all the rich fruit of the vintage. There are subtle hints of spice, tar and campfire ash at the rear, but this vintage will be remembered for the depth and intensity of all that black primary fruit.
The 2016 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is a super-clasic Asti Barbera with wonderfully delineated flavors and plenty structure. Clean mineral notes, spice, dried flowers, menthol and graphite all run through this potent yet super-refined Barbera that cries for cold weather and bold, lusty food on the table. When I think about what Asti Barbera should be, the Bionzo often comes to mind.
Bionzo is a vineyard site in Costigliole d'Asti planted to vines aged 80 years old or more. The La Spinetta 2016 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is a bold wine that offers generous fruit, but then it pulls back with care to show elegance and complexity. The vibrant character of the fruit shines bright, as does the softness and textural richness of this vintage. Dried plum, blackberry and sweet cherry are backed by baking spice, tilled earth and cedar wood.
The 2015 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is dark, powerful and incredibly structured. Black cherry, gravel, smoke, chocolate, licorice and menthol are some of the many notes that run through this huge, concentrated Asti Barbera. Rich and also remarkably vivid, the 2015 has so much to offer. Crushed rocks, blackberry jam, menthol licorice and a whole range of dark spices build in this super-concentrated, dense Barbera from old vines in Costigliole d'Asti.
Barbera enthusiasts should drop whatever they are doing and actively seek this wine. The 2014 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is a creation of inspiration and beauty—and not just because it defies logic that such a sumptuous wine could be made during a growing season that was harder on the Barbera grape above all. This is not the first rodeo for these old vines. Some sort of internal plant institutional memory has cleverly guided these vines though adverse growing conditions. Of these old vines, up to 20% are still planted on their original root stock, and those roots have penetrated profound depths. Indeed, this wine opens to an inky black, impenetrable appearance. Dark fruit aromas float slowly to the top. Efforts have been made to keep the alcohol low, but this powerful wine still registers 14.5% alcohol. Because of severe fruit selection, only 1,500 bottles were made in 2014, down from an average of 3,000 in an average vintage. This is a lovely wine.
The highlight in this range, the 2013 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is fabulous. Fresh cut flowers, mint, raspberry jam, rose petal and graphite give the 2013 much of its racy, layered personality. The Bionzo possesses exceptional energy and tension for such a big Barbera. Make no mistake about it: Bionzo is one of Piedmont's most distinctive wines. The 2013 is a fabulous edition.
Another totallt gorgeous wine, the 2009 Barbera d'Asti Bionzo stands out for its exceptional pedigree. Layers of creamy, generous fruit wrap around the palate with lovely intensity that nearly buries the trademark of Asti acidity. But it is there, as is everything else, so the wine will drink beautifully for a number of years. Violets, cloves, pencil shavings and crushed rocks frame the long intensely saline finish. This is another impressive effort. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
(from 65- and 80-year-old vine): Bright ruby. Super ripe aromas of black fruits, violet, mint, menthol and licorice. Then juicy and firm in the mouth; less round and more angular than the Gallina, conveying a much stronger impression of calcaire minerality. Finishes with more structure and force.
The 2008 Barbera d'Asti Bionzo comes across as a bit closed in on itself. Intense mineral notes frame blackberries, sweet herbs and spices in this powerful, concentrate Barbera. Today the wine is a bit compact, but if it fills out might merit a higher score. The 2008 is very Asti in its slightly austere, reserved personality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. This is a superb set of wines from Giorgio Rivetti. The 2008 Barbareschi are among the strongest wines of the year, while the 2007 Barolo Campe is the best wine to merge form Rivetti's vineyards in Grinzane Cavour. The La Spinetta style focusing on wines of great textural richness remains intact, but is dealed in to a greater degree with each passing vintage.
The 2007 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo is lacd with dark red fruits, graphite, spices and grilled herbs. The acidity of Asti is balanced by a vibrant, expressive core of dark red fruit in a style that is touch more linear than the Gallina. In the most vintages I prefer the Bionzo over the Gallina, but in 2007 the Bionzo seems to fall just a touch flat. The Bionzo spent 16-18 months in French oak prior to being bottled. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017. This is a high successful set of new releases from La Spinetta. The wines show great balance and class across the board.
(form 50-year old vines purchased in 2003; aged in all new barriques. Deep ruby color. Pungent aromas of blackberry and bitter chocolate. Sappy black and integrated oak flavors sharply framed by penetrating acidity. This boasts lovely inner- mouth aromatic character and mineral energy from the limestone-rich soil. Finishes with substantial tongue-dusting tannins. The crop level was just 18 hectoliters per hectare, according to Rivetti. Drink this now with full- flavored meat or hold it for five years.
This Barolo comes from 50+ year-old vines on the four-hectare (10 acres) Campè vineyard surrounding the winery in Grinzane Cavour. The Campè is powerful and imposing in the glass, with a distinctive nose of violets, blackcurrants and blueberries combined with more vegetal nuances for an overall impression of freshness. Graphite, smoke and leather add to the impressive depth and density of palate, while remaining vibrantly fruit-centric. Smooth tannins shape a distinguished, balanced and long wine, to drink now or hold for a few years to enjoy its evolution.
The La Spinetta 2019 Barolo Campè Vürsù is balanced and bright with a little more heft and overall fruit concentration. Dried cherry, blackberry, spice and black licorice all appear on the bouquet. This is smooth in consistency but shows a long, polished mouthfeel that is especially tight and elegant in this vintage.